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The original sepia drawing on a* folio sheet from which 
this reproduction has been made is almdst certainly the work of 
John Woolman's friend and contemporaf-^', Robert Smith III, of 
Burlington, New Jersey, son of Daniel (d. 1781), and grandson 
and namesake of the well known Judge Robert Smith of the Court 
of Common Pleas, Burlington County (1769 &c). Robert Smith 
III married Mary, daughter of Job Bacon, of Bacon's Neck, N. J. 
He had a natural gift for seizing a likeness and has left a large 
collection of striking sketches. The technique is identical with this 
sketch, which, however, is more ambitious, and the erratic back- 
ground is omitted. The medal of the British and Foreign Anti- 
Slavery Association, founded in 1787 by "thomas Clarkson, which 
appears in the original, goes to prove this a memory sketch, as are 
many of Robert Smith's portraits, and also furnishes corrobora- 
tive evidence of its genuineness. 

The original was in possession of the late Governor Samuel W. 
Pennypacker, whose endorsement is on the reverse, and whose 
accurate judgment Was seldom at fault. It was sold with the 
contents of his library in 1908 and came. later into the hands of 
the present owner, George Vaux, Jr., of Bryn Mawr, Pa., to 
whom are due the editor's thanks for the privilege of reproduction. 









"That best part of a good man's life, 
His little, nameless unremembered acts 
Of kindness and of love," 



AU rights reserved 


^ /. 



7 7 1 5 
W f / ^ ^ 


Copyright, 1922, 

Set up and printed. Published November, 1922. 

Press of 
J. J. Little & Ives Company 
New York, U. S. A, 


Nearly a decade has passed since the preparation of this edition 
of John Woolman's Journal was undertaken at the request of the 
Friends' Historical Society of Philadelphia. In that interval has 
come and gone the Great War, whose shadow has fallen so deeply 
upon our modern civilization. To the philosopher of the future, 
who will command a truer perspective than is possible for us today, 
must be left the final verdict of its effect upon a great portion of 
the human race. 

In view, however, of the stupendous changes which have been 
wrought in national and political relations, and of the fact that 
never before were social upheavals of such magnitude or impor- 
tance, it is appropriate that a wider hearing be given to one whose 
quiet voice has still a message for this weary world, and whose 
meditations have survived in a form, quaint indeed, but singularly 
penetrating in their sympathetic counsel and wisdom. John Wool- 
man had two great aims in his rather brief life : — the abolition of 
slavery, and the readjustment of human relations for the relief 
of the laboring classes. The first was accomplished at the cost of 
a civil war, and the life of the Great Emancipator. Over the sec- 
ond, which is yet unattained, the world nevertheless may discern 
faint gleams of light ; but we desperately need today the sound 
teaching of John Woolman. He called his little book a Journal, 
although in it will be found comparatively few autobiographical 
details. Such it is, however, in the sense of being the history of 
the Progress of a Soul through what was to him indeed a Vale of 
Tears. John Woolman believed it possible "to provide all men 
with an environment which will best develop their physical, mental 
and spiritual powers." This definition of social reconstruction is 
that of a modern English student and leader in social reform, 
B. Seebohm Rowntree, but it was anticipated more than a century 
and a half ago by John Woolman. 

The circumstances of the early publication of Woolman's Jour- 
nal are related in the pages that follow. It is less a matter of 


regret that the present edition has been unavoidably delayed, since 
some of the most important facts connected with John Woolman's 
life have but very recently come to light. The reader should be re- 
minded that the change of date from old to new style occurred in 
the year 1752. In certain cases it has been impossible to know 
definitely whether the record quoted has been adjusted or not. 
In every such case the original is given as it stands ; in other 
cases, the change is noted. The bibliography is based upon the 
very full one published in the "Century" Edition of Headley 
Bros., London, 1900, and is used with permission. 

It remains to acknowledge with gratitude the assistance ren- 
dered the present editor by many kind friends who cannot all be 
named, but to most of whose services reference will be found in 
the notes. Death has claimed those to whom the editor's debt is 
greatest. President Isaac Sharpless, of Haverford College, read 
the earliest chapters, and urged their publication. Professor Allen 
C. Thomas critically examined and endorsed the entire manu- 
script during the summer preceding his death. To the late Dr. 
John W. Jordan, and to Miss Wylie of the Historical Society of 
Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and to Dr. J. Russell Hayes, Libra- 
rian at Swarthmore College, are due thanks for their aid with the 
original Woolman manuscripts in their respective collections. 
Many members of the collateral branches of the Woolman family 
have cordially loaned their papers and documents for examination 
or reproduction. Gilbert Cope, the genealogist, has furnished the 
facts regarding the father of Sarah Ellis, wife of the Journahst, 
and both William A. Slaughter and the late Charles H. Engle of 
Mount Holly, gave valuable aid in regard to the local associations 
of John Woolman in his home town. 

In England the editor is under deep obligations to Norman 
Penney, F.R.H.S., at Devonshire House, London, where the vast 
collections of Quaker historical material have been laid vmder 
contribution for this volume by him and his able assistant, M. Ethel 
Crawshaw. He has also had searches made in the records of those 
meetings in the counties which were visited by Woolman. The 
late William C. Braithwaite and Dr. R. Hingston Fox furnished 
valuable information, and to no one more than to the late Malcolm 
Spence, of Almery Garth, York, is the editor's indebtedness 
greater. His interest in the work led him to much care in photo- 


graphing in detail the valuable manuscripts still in possession of 
the family in the house where John Woolman died, and his own 
death occurred very soon after he had sent over all the material 
which had any relation to the Quaker philanthropist. 

The inspirer and adviser of this edition, who did not live to see 
the work finished, but the memor}^ of whose helpful aid has made 
the completion of the task possible, was Francis B. Gummere. His 
grateful wife would here record her debt to his unfailing bright 
encouragement and wise counsel. Without the aid and coopera- 
tion of these and many others, the editor's labors would have been 
far less complete. The personal life of John Woolman is here 
presented in more detail than has before been possible. It is 
hoped that his spiritual message will not lose thereby. 

Amelia Mott Gummere. 
Haverford, Pa. 
June, 1922. 


There are few men so eminent as John Woolman in social or 
religious literature, of whose personal life and surroundings so 
very little is known. The extraordinary modesty of character 
which so distinguished him in his personal relations with his fel- 
lowmen, has kept from the world for one hundred and fifty years 
those more intimate facts of which present day biography is often 
too full. In reading Woolman one must always carefully dis- 
tinguish between the humility of character which was his in a 
marked degree, and that "holy boldness" which made him fearless 
in the prosecution of those delicate and difficult tasks to which 
his apprehended duty called him. 

John Woolman's autobiography, heretofore our only source of 
information, contains but a thread of personal history, usually 
introduced because it is necessary to explain the circumstances 
of the spiritual "exercise" which he wishes to record. Even this 
appears solely for the purpose of enforcing a moral lesson. The 
Journal, forjts very restraint, its simplicity of style, and its clarity 
of vision and statement, has grown into a classic, occupying a 
place unique in literature, and of far more influence than was 
dreamed possible by its modest author. Such writers as Henry 
Crabbe Robinson, Charles Lamb and George Macaulay Trevelyan, 
to name but three representative men, have borne testimony to 
its spiritual and literary qualities. Joseph Sturge, the reformer and 
philanthropist, wrote of it: "In the picturesque simplicity of its 
style, refined literary taste has found an inimitable charm ; but the 
spiritually minded reader will discover beauties of a far higher 
order." ^ The Journal was at one time in use as a text book at 
Princeton University, for the purity of its English,^ and in 1920 
the State of Pennsylvania required it of its candidates in the 
public school examinations. 

• "Visit to tte United States." 1841. p. 9. 

' Charles B. Todd. "History of the Burr Family." 2d edit. p. 449. 


The Journalist was in the habit of noting down his experiences 
on his tours about the country, and he says, "After reading 
over the notes I made as I travelled, I find my mind engaged to 
preserve them." Having once made this determination, he sys- 
tematically carried it out. The "Memorials" of his intimate 
friend, Rebecca Jones of Philadelphia, were published thirty years 
after her death, and in violation of her written request that they 
be not made public. She committed them to writing under a 
sense of duty, like John Woolman, and it was the opinion of the 
eminent men consulted that "it was not within her province to 
withhold from posterity the lustre of her example." John Wool- 
man made no such restriction. Aware how much the record of 
his own experience might benefit his successors, he committed 
to paper all he thought of value as the days went by. He began 
the practice at the age of thirty-five and kept it up until his 
death at the age of fifty-two. 

Examination of the sources now available for a fuller biog- 
raphy, brings out a personality which has nothing to lose and much 
to gain over the traditional figure of John Woolman. Records, 
legal and denominational, have been searched, often with im- 
portant results, and many hitherto unknown letters and documents 
have been found in public libraries and in private hands. In fact, 
so much of new interest has developed, that a biographical sketch 
of the man is now no more than due to those who know John 
Woolman only through his Journal — the most impersonal auto- 
biography ever written. 

The only valid reason which could b6 offered for a new edition 
of the Journal of John Woolman would be the discovery of new 
material. There are half a hundred editions of the Journal proper, 
and a multitude of publications in which his Essays and appre- 
ciations of him appear. This valid reason, however, may now be 
safely advanced, for descendants of the Journalist have recently 
made accessible by presenting to learned institutions which are 
glad to guard them, the manuscripts — there are three — of the 
Journal, and of most of his Essays, as well as letters, marriage 
certificates of the family and other documents. 

The large, leather-bound folio, which once had clasps, written 
in the excellent clerkly hand of the author, and from which Cruk- 
shank printed the first edition in 1774, came into possession of 


the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1912 as the gift of 
Samuel Comfort, a descendant in the sixth generation from John 
Woolman. It measures eight inches in width by twelve and a 
half in height. Inscribed upon the outside of the front of its 
cover are the names of three of John Woolman's grandsons: — 
"Samuel and Stephen and John Comfort's Book." Upon the back 
his great-grandson, Samuel Comfort, has written his name. This 
was the descendant who aided John Comly in preparing the edition 
of 1837, and who replied to the Philadelphia Friend who was the 
medium through whom an English would-be purchaser in 1845 
offered a small sum for the folio : — "Could it be justly supposed 
that those through whose veins his blood flows, would, for sordid 
gold, sell to a stranger those pages over which the hand has 
moved and penned the sentiments and feelings as they flowed fresh 
and warm from the heart of their honored Father in the Truth? 
I may adopt this Scripture : 'The Lord forbid it me, that I should 
give the Inheritance of my Father unto thee.' " Accompanying 
this folio are the Larger and Smaller Account Books, the marriage 
certificate of John and Sarah Woolman, that of their daughter 
Mary and John Comfort, and of several of his ancestors and 
other relatives, besides valuable letters, papers and other docu- 
ments. These have by gift now become the property of the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. 

At Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, are the two earlier 
manuscripts of the same Journal. The first of these is a rough 
draft of forty-seven quarto pages, begun when the Journalist was 
thirty-five years of age, and bearing interesting internal evidence of 
his spontaneity and youth. There is great freedom from the 
set phraseology which sometimes renders the literature of Quaker- 
ism difficult of comprehension to the ordinary reader. Its account 
ends with the year 1747. The second, like the first, is unbound, 
with its pages stitched together, and containing all the material 
in the first. It continues the narrative to the year 1770. Worn 
and sometimes blurred, the good ink and clear handwriting have 
in both cases preserved for us these precious documents. Accom- 
panying these also are letters, and the manuscripts of several of 
the Essays. Most valuable of all, from the antiquarian point of 
view, is the short Journal of the Sea Voyage and of the four 
months travel in Engknd. This is stitched together in a duo- 


decimo page, and is still covered with the original blue paper 
which protected it in its owner's pocket. These papers were all 
deposited on loan at Swarthmore College by a descendant in the 
same generation as Samuel Comfort, Elizabeth Lawrence Dudley, 
in 1913. 

It is clear that the two Swarthmore copies were used by Wool- 
man in preparing the folio for the printer. His Larger Account 
Book (Page 27) contains a charge for this book. This copy was 
made in the years 1769-1771, and was finished before he left 
home for England. It was one of the important details of his 
preparation for departure, whose completion was necessary for his 
peace of mind. Corrections and changes were made as he copied, 
most of the alterations bearing evidence of the writer's more 
mature thought. In the present edition these changes are noted. 
When John Woolman was about to leave home in 1772, he care- 
fully tied up this folio, together with other important private 
papers, and left them in the hands of his intimate friend, John 
Pemberton, who was at that time Clerk of the Meeting for Suffer- 
ings, as the large Committee acting in the intervals of Philadelphia 
Yearly Meeting, was then called. They were not to be opened 
except in case of his failure to return. He also prepared and 
left for immediate publication his well-known "Epistle," to 
Friends "4 mo. 1772." 
,-^The Journal of the Sea Voyage was made from day to day, 
and in the five weeks during which it lasted, John Woolman in- 
serted the reflections which life at sea suggested to him. Five 
days after landing, at the close of London Yearly Meeting, this 
manuscript was given to his friend, Sophia Hume, for whom he 
had in 1748 performed a similar service, to revise and correct, 

da mo 
at her discretion. The cover bears the endorsement "13 : 6: 1772. 
I commit these notes to the care and keeping of Sophia Hume, 
and if she hath a mind to revise them, and place them in better 
order, I am free to it, but I desire she may not shew them to 
any one, but with a very weighty consideration. John Woolman." 
There is no evidence of any alterations made by Sophia Hume, 
with whom he doubtless left the little manuscript on his departure 
from London. 


The leaves on which is written the diary of the long walk 
to the North are stitched in later, possibly having been added 
after his death, the manuscript of the voyage, and of the English 
Journey thus forming one little paper-covered pamphlet. On the 
blank pages of the English Journey, William Tuke ""^ wrote down 
from day to day the memoranda of John Woolman's illness and 
death. This manuscript was brought by Samuel Emlen,' [then 
known as "Junior,"] to whose care William Tuke consigned it, 
(along with Woolman's clothing and other small possessions), 
from York to John Woolman's wife, who handed them to the 
Meeting for Sufferings at Philadelphia. That meeting appointed 
a Committee to edit and prepare the Journal and Essays for pub- 
lication. The minutes are in the handwriting of the Clerk, John 
Pemberton, the lifelong friend of Woolman. They give us in de- 
tail the story of the first edition. 

"At a Monthly Meeting for Suflferings held in Philadelphia, 
the 15th of 4, 1773. 

Our beloved Friend John Woolman having before his leaving 
us Sealed up a Journal of his life to near that time, together with 
some other manuscripts, & directed them to John Pemberton ' in 
order that they should be Cofnunicated (sic) to this meeting, if it 
should please the Lord to remove him from the Stage of this 
life before his return, being now presented to this meeting, John 
Huntt,^ John Reynell,^ James Pemberton,^ Anthony Benezet,* & 
Owen Jones ^ are appointed to inspect them & Comunicate (sic) 
their Sentiments thereon to a future Meeting;" (p. 379). i8th day 
of 8mo. 1773; Israel Pemberton," Samuel Emlen,' Junior, & John 
Pemberton ^ vi^ere added to the Committee in charge of the Journal. 
These, then, were the Friends who became the official editors. 
They were men whose prominence in the councils and aflfairs of 
the Colony will at once be evident to any one familiar with the 
history of Pennsylvania.^ 

They had already entered upon their task when the official 
announcement of the deaths of John Woolman and his cousin 
William Hunt,^ was received from London. The meeting re- 
plied: — "22nd. 4mo. 1773. . . . We had before the arrival of 
your Epistle received the Sorowful account of two of these 

1 Brief sketches of these men will be found in the Biographical Notes. 


worthy Friends being removed to receive the Reward of their 
faithful! Labours, which very Sensibly affect us, & our loss is the 
Greater, as several other valuable Friends were near the same time 
taken from us, & by their patient Continuance in Weldoing were 
nearly united to the faithful." (p. 383). 

Several months were spent in sorting and arranging the vari- 
ous papers and manuscripts, and in the autumn work was actually 
begun on the Journal proper. The Meeting for Sufferings, under 
date, "21 day of lomo. 1773," has a minute; — ^"It's now agreed 
that the Committee, with such other friends of this Meeting as can 
well attend, do meet at the 6th. hour in the Evening of next 4th. 
day in order to proceed to the Inspection & Consideration of the 
Journal left by our Friend John Woolman, & so to adjourn from 
time to time until they have gone thro' it." (p. 396.) Next month 
they record that the Committee and "dk'ers Friends" are regu- 
larly meeting together once a week for the purpose of hearing 
the Journal and to revise it. Finally, "21 of imo. 1774. . . . 
The Journal left by our Dear Friend John Woolman having been 
read through by the Committee & nearly ready for the Press, and 
a Specimen of the Type & Paper on which it is proposed to be 
printed being produced, the letter appearing clear & large, it's tho't 
may be agreeable, & that the Printer may be Encouraged to Print 
1200 Copies. Some further Consideration respecting the Journal 
is referred to the next Meeting." (p. 401). 

The last entries have to do with the subscriptions. Broadsides 
were printed and distributed by Joseph Crukshank. "21 of 4mo. 
1774," they record: — ''The Friends who have had the Care of re- 
vising the Journal left by Our Friend John Woolman are desired 
to get printed notices spread to Several Quarterly & Monthly 
Meetings to Acquaint them that the work is in the press & to 
encourage Friends to Subscribe for them." (p. 413). "19 of Smo. 
1774. Notices having been printed respecting the Journal of our 
Friend John Woolman, part of them are distributed, & its expected 
Joseph Cruckshank (sic) will Exercise care to Spread them 
further." (p. 414). 

One of the Publication Committee returned the Manuscript 
to Woolman's family, accompanied by the first London edition of 
"Remarks on Sundry Subjects," under which title are published 
the Essays written in England (1773). His letter follows: 


Seventh Day; 4 O'Clock P.M. 
Dear Friend, 

I herewith send John Woolman's Journal, & that part of his 
Works pubhshed in England. Thy Aunt show'd us a written 
testimony sent from England, which I now applied to her for, but 
she tells my wife that thou hast a copy of it. I know of nothing 
else I can furnish, which would help y" designed testimony. Oh ! 
that I may have reason to believe that my name is written in the 
meanest page (if there is any difference) of the Book of Life, 
and I care nothing about Testimonies. 

Anthony Benezet." * 

To Samuel Allinson, Burlington.^ 

The school house in which the Friends met "every 4th day 
evening at 6 of the clock" throughout the winter of 1773-4, stood 
on the site of the present Forrest Building, No. 119 South Fourth 
Street, Philadelphia. These were the Friends who performed the 
important service of giving to the world the first edition of John 
Woolman's Journal. The printing was excellently done by 
Joseph Crukshank, himself a Quaker, official printer for the Yearly 
Meeting. His shop was in Market Street, at the sign of the 
"Bible-in-Hand," and he was one of the best printers at that period 
in America.^ The book appeared in the spring of 1774 with the 
title, "The Works of John Woolman." 

This Committee performed its task at a period when the biog- 
raphy, whether Quaker or not, might be regarded as complete, if 
it recorded the spiritual life of the individual, and omitted many, 
or even most, of the facts of daily Hfe. History had not then 
become a science, and the historical sense was untrained. The 
eighteenth century editor considered himself justified in omitting 
or revising at his pleasure, the statements of his author, as may 
be best instanced in the well known Life of Washington, by 

'■ Family Papers in possession of Caroline Allinson, Yardville, N. J. 

S. Allinson [1739-1791.] Prominent Quaker lawyer, appointed by N. J. Legis- 
lature, 1773, to prepare well-known folio, Laws of New Jersey, printed by Isaac 
Collins. [N. J, Archives ist Ser. xxv. p. 6.] 

' His friends wrote of him, that "fair in his dealings, punctual with his payment, 
and amiable in his manners, he was greatly esteemed by his fellow citizens." [Thomas. 
"History of Printing in America," Vol. I., p. 262.] Crukshank occupied the third 
house west of Grindstone Alley, on the site now (1922) numbered 227. He had 
moved there in 1770 from an earlier location in Third St. ["Market Street, Phila- 
delphia," p. 32, by Jos. Jackson.] 


Weems, or Washington's Letters, edited by Jared Sparks. The 
changes made in the first edition of Woolman are chiefly omis- 
sions. The dreams are all wanting, as well as the only in- 
stance in which Woolman went to law. Part of the paragraph on 
inoculation is left out, as well as several mathematical calculations 
and diagrams. The reader will be able to compare other changes 
in the present edition. At the close of the volume, the letter of 
William Tuke was inserted as a portion of the text, and not in 
its original form. All later editions have followed this precedent. 

Many editions at once followed the first, both in Great Britain 
and America (see Bibliography). None of these, however, appear 
to have been collated with the original manuscript, carefully 
guarded in the hands of descendants and easily accessible, until 
1837, when Samuel Comfort, its owner, a great-grandson of John 
Woolman, assisted John Comly,^ minister and school teacher and 
author of several text books, in publishing a new and revised 
edition of the Journal. This edition leaves the impression upon 
the reader that it was printed for theological reasons. It appeared 
in the stress of denominational controversy, and its joint editors, 
like the first committee, still regarded themselves at liberty to 
alter and "correct" their author. The copy of Johnson's edition 
of 1800 which they used, is still tied up with the manuscript. It is 
interlined with notes, and on its fly-leaf appears a calculation as 
to the frequency and significance of the name of Christ in the 
Holy Scriptures. In many instances "God" has been substituted 
for "Christ" in the text. Occasionally another Scriptural text has 
been substituted for that quoted by the author. The editing was 
nevertheless done with more accuracy and literary taste than that 
of any other edition, and many omissions of the first were inserted. 
In this a valuable service was rendered to literature. 

The English edition of 1840, printed by Thomas Hurst at 
Warrington, was the next to appear, and the changes in that 
of Comly (1837,) led to its preface on the orthodoxy of John 
Woolman, which collation with the original manuscript would 
have rendered unnecessary. James Cropper, the editor,^ died 

^John Comly of Byberry, Pa., minister and schoolmaster. Born iimo. 19 1773. 
Died 8mo. 17 1850. An able and well-known Friend. Comly bought Woolman's 
Journal in 1792, with his first savings, when he was 19. 

'James Cropper (1773-1840) of Liverpool-Philanthropist; interested in the Aboli- 
tion of Slavery. Founder of Penketh School. 


before the book was finished, and a Committee of Friends carried 
the work to its completion. The preface is an answer to the 
criticism of those who contended that the Journal itself had so 
much to say of duty, and so little of doctrine. The obvious reply 
to the Quaker precisians of the early Victorian period is that 
Woolman's appeal is to the heart even more than to the head. The 
text in this case has suffered more than in any other, the editors 
having attempted to "improve" Woolman's simple English. They 
thus conclude their preface: — "In preparing this valuable work 
for a more extensive circulation, it has been found necessary 
to correct many grammatical inaccuracies, and occasionally to omit 
redundant words, and repetitions of the same sentiments; also to 
transpose sentences, in which the author's meaning was obscured 
by the want of a more simple and perspicuous arrangement." 

For some years before 1871 the poet Whittier had been con- 
templating the publication of a new edition. He was familiar with 
the home of Woolman, had conversed with those whose parents 
had known him well, and in abolition days had been chiefly anxious 
to bring out in a fuller introduction, the anti-slavery phase of 
Woolman's work. His Philadelphia friend, Charles Yarnall,^ 
learning of his thought, wrote to him urging him to the under- 
taking, and he replied under date, from Amesbury, Massachusetts, 
"Eighth Month 17th. 1869. The pressure of many cares and 
duties, illness, and I may also confess, a deep sense of my own 
deficiencies as contrasted, not alone with the perfect purity of the 
Great Exemplar, but with such a devout follower of Him as 
John Woolman, have deterred me from the task to which thy 
letter invites. Yet it is often on my mind, and if my life is spared 
awhile longer, I may do something of the kind. I have now before 
me an unpublished work upon John Woolman by Dora Greenwell 
of England, author of 'The Patience of Hope' which I may yet 
find a publisher for.^ " Whittier's edition appeared in 1871. 

Since that year, most editions have been based upon that of 
Whittier, notably the "Century" (1900) edition of Headley Broth- 
ers, London, and "Everyman's Libra.ry." The latter omits the 

> Born 1801. Died 1877. A prominent Philadelphia Friend, much interested in 
Quaker education. 

2 Original from collection of the late Prof. Allen C. Thomas, of Haverford College. 
Pa. Dora Greenwell's "Patience of Hope" first appeared in Edinburgh, i860. 


entire tenth chapter. In Whittier's, which has become the standard 
edition, is always accessible his own brief history of the anti- 
slavery movement, and the message of love, human and divine, 
which John Woolman brings, is equally obtainable in all the many 
editions in which his remarkable Journal has appeared. For this 
reason, and because so little has been known of the personal 
life of Woolman, it has been deemed best to discard Whittier's 
introduction and substitute a sketch giving the new facts of Wool- 
man's life, as they have recently come to light. It is necessary 
to keep in mind the fact also, that many of the small meetings 
which are named by Woolman in his travels, no longer exist. 

Throughout this volume, the folio MS. used by Crukshank in 
the first edition, upon which the text is based, is termed MS.^. 
The first small quarto, ending 1747, is MS. 5. and the similar 
quarto ending 1770, is MS.C. Footnotes give the variations when 
not in the text, and the biographical notes in the Appendix aid us 
to identify Woolman's friends. Brackets indicate variations in the 
texts. There is so much interest in his family, that it is hoped the 
wills and deeds included, will also be welcomed. 

Those who fear to see their favorite author appear in a strange 
form, and dread the touch upon the page of a profane hand, may 
be reminded that in these modern days, no higher tribute of praise 
or of affection can be shown than to give to his readers the exact 
reproduction of the text of his message. Slavery has mercifully 
become a dead issue ; but there are today before a distracted world, 
questions of life and death that bring into prominence the aspects 
of Woolman's work having to do with social problems, which are 
not less timely now than when his Essays were written. The first 
editorial Committee was engaged at its task during the very 
strenuous days immediately preceding the American Revolution, 
and the Minutes bear abundant evidence of the appropriateness of 
the publication of John Woolman's Journal. It is a curious fact 
that this last edition, with its peaceful message, should have been 
prepared whilst the greatest world-war was raging. 



I. The Immigrant Ancestor. 1678 i 

II. Youth and Education. 1720 11 

III. 1749. Marriage and Settlement 35 

IV. 1760. Newport and the Slave Question. Corre- 

spondence 58 

V. 1763. The Indian Journey 76 

VI. 1766. John Woolman as Schoolmaster .... 96 
VII. 1772. The Voyage, English Journey, and Death . 125 


I. 1720 to 1743 151-162 

II. 1743 to 1748 163-172 

in. 1749 to 1756 173-186 

IV. 1757 187-203 

V. 1757 to 1758 204-217 

VI. 1758 to 1759 218-230 

VII. 1760 231-242 

VIII. 1761 243-265 

IX. 1763-1769 266-279 

X. 1770-1772 ■ 280-288 

XL 1772 289-303 

XII. 1772 304-31S 

XIII. 1772 316-333 





Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes — 

Part I 334-347 

Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes — 

Part H 348-381 

Considerations on Pure Wisdom and Human Policy; 
ON Labour; on Schools; and on the Right Use of 

THE Lord's Outward Gifts 382-396 

Serious Considerations on Trade 397-402 

A Plea for the Poor 402-437 

Considerations on the True Harmony of Mankind 438-472 

An Epistle 473-487 

Last Essays 488-510 

Appendix 511-609 

Bibliography 610-630 

Index 633-643 


John Woolman : Portrait sketch by Robert Smith . . . Frontispiece 

From Collection of the late S. W, Pennypacker. 

Now in Possession of George Vaux, Jr,, Bryn Mawr, Pa, 


The Rancocas, from Site of John Woolman*s Birthplace .... 12 

Photograph by Charles R. Pancoast. 

"The Mount," Mt. Holly, N. J 13 

Photograph by Charles i?. Pancoast. 

Marriage Certificate (portion), Samuel Woolman and Elizabeth Burr 20 

In Possession of Rachel H, Hilliard, Rancocas, AT. /. 

Account as Tailor's Apprentice, 1743 21 

From ''Smaller Account Book." 

Marriage Certificate, John Comfort and Mary Woolman, 1771 . . 42 
In Possession of Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

1. "Cripps' Oak" ; Old Boundary Line, Garden St., Mt. Holly, N. J. 1 

2. John Woolman's Shop, now 47 Mill St., Mt. Holly, N. J. J "*"' 

David Zeisberger Preaching to the Indians at Wyalusing, 1763 . . 86 
Drawing in Possession of Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

John Woolman's Notes at Indian Interview, 1761 87 

From Pemberton Collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Specifications for Mary Woolman Comfort's House, 1771 .... 106 

"Larger Account Book," Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

John Woolman's School Primer 107 

Courtesy of Friends' Library, Devonshire House, London. 

John Woolman's Letter to Elizabeth Smith, 1772 122 

In Possession of the Editor. 

1. Final Memorandum, from "Larger Account Book," 1772 

2. "Pennsylvania Journal" Notice of Ship "Mary and Elizabeth" 


Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 

Almery Garth, York, England 138 

Photograph by Malcolm Spence. 

Window of Room where John Woolman Died, 1772 139 

Photograph by Malcolm Spence. 

First Page of MS.C. (earliest) Journal 150 

Original at Swarthmore College, Pa. 

First Page of MS.A. folio. Journal 131 

Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


- 123 





Residence of John Woolman, Mt. Holly, N. J 172 

From sepia drawing, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Marriage Certificate, John Woolman and Sarah Ellis, 1749 . . . I73 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

1. John Woolman's Chair, Owned by a Descendant, E. Cecilia 

Newbold, Bordentown, N. J. 

2. "Three Tuns" Tavern, 1761. Now the Mill St. Hotel, Mt. 

Holly, N. J. 

1. Nantucket, site of "Big Shop," where John Woolman Preached 

2. Thomas Middleton's Smoke-house, Crosswicks, N. J. 

Photographs by the Editor. 

3. Memorandum for Nursery Planting, 1768 

From "Larger Account Book," Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

1. Cover of Journal of the Voyage"! 

2. Last page. Journal of the Voyage r 288 

At Szuarthmore College, Pa. J 

1. First Page, Journal of the Voyage 1 

2. The Landing in London r 2°9 

At Swarthmore College, Pa. J 

Title and first page, John Woolman's first Essay, 1754 334 

From Collection of the late Charles Roberts, Philadelphia. 

Titlepage, "Considerations" &c.. Part II, 1762 335 

Copy in Havcrford College Library, Pennsylvania. 

John Woolman's Grave, York, England Sio 

Seal, British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, London .... 510 
Where the Journal was first Edited, 1773 511 

1. Sophia Hume I „, , , , . . 1 

1-Sketches from contemporary drawmg of I 

2. John TownsendJ Qracechurch Meeting, London. T ^-^^ 

In Possession of A. C. and S. H. Letchzvorth. J 

1. Uriah Woolman. Silhouette presented by Gertrude Deacon to 

the John Woolman Association 

2. John Comfort. Silhouette found in attic of Woolman Memorial 

William Tuke. Portrait in Friend's Institute, London .... 
By Permission. 

Esther Tuke. Silhouette in Friends' Institute, London 

By Permission. 

The John Woolman Memorial, Mt. Holly, N. J 598 

Drawing by H. Toerring. 

Fireplace in the John Woolman Memorial 599 

Photograph by Watson W. Dewces. 






John Woolman came of good old English stock. The family 
name is found in Gloucestershire, and also in Middlesex (Lon- 
don), where a Sarah Woolman of Limehouse held title to the lot 
on Fourth Street, in Philadelphia, which was part of a property 
now owned (1922) by the William Forrest Estate. The original 
patent^ is dated i^' of 5mo. (July) 1685 and the deed of sale, 
through her nephew and attorney, William Carter, is drawn 6mo. 
7, 1687. She did not come out to America, and at present there 
is no clue to her identity, beyond the description of her as 
"widow." Limehouse Parish Records do not begin until 1730. 

The Quaker records of Painswick, Gloucestershire, twice con- 
tain upon their marriage certificates the signature of a John 
Woolman, as witness. The first occurs at the marriage of Henry 
Harber and Martha Humphries, 4 mo. 10, 1658; the second, at 
that of Richard Merrill and Hannah Mason, 2 mo. 23, 1676. 
Parish Church records of the same time and place disclose no 
such name. The second signature may have been that of the 
Journalist's grandfather, but he would have been only three years 
of age at the time of the first of these marriages. Their identity 
has not yet been established, but the signer or signers were in all 
probability members of the same family. No Woolman is named 
by Besse in his "Sufferings of the Quakers." A number of Pains- 
wick Friends settled in Burlington County near together, in the 
group which accompanied the first John Woolman. One of these 
was Walter Humphries, whose power of attorney was given his 

' Rolls Office, Philadelphia, 6mo. (August) 7th. 1687. Book E. Vol. V, p. 574. 



son-in-law, Enoch Core, August 15, 1684, to act as his agent in 
New Jersey/ They had ah been neighbors in the old home in 
England, and John Woolman I inventories Walter Humphries' 
estate, October 17, 1698.- 

In the year 1678 this John Woolman, I (1655-1718), grand- 
father of the Journalist, arrived at Burlington, West Jersey, from 
England, and is one of the settlers named as heads of families by 
the historian, Samuel Smith. ^ He was then 23. With him, or 
very soon after him, came his aged father William Woolman, 
(d. 1692) of Gloucestershire. The son was a West Jersey Pro- 
prietor, having bought of Thomas Elooton in 1677, a thirty- 
second share of a proprietary right in that colony.^ In the next 
twenty years he acquired at various times several large tracts of 
land extending north from Rancocas Creek. In 1687 two hundred 
acres were taken up by John Woolman, and the ancient deed for 
this land, carefully preserved and bearing the signature of Gov- 
ernor Samuel Jenings, is cherished by the family of his descen- 
dant, the late (iranville Woolman Leeds, of Rancocas, who owned 
one hundred acres of the original tract. ^ 

John Woolman was a signer, i2mo. 7, 1680-1, of the Address 
sent by the Eriends of Burlington to those in London. The rec- 
ords of the Monthly Meeting of the same place state, "7mo. 1, 
1684. John Woolman & Eliz. Bourton P'posed their Intentions 
of Marriage, it being y'^ first time." On the sixth of the next 
month, "Jno. Woolman & Eliz. Bourton P'posed their Intentions 
y" second time, & y"" meeting left y™ to their Liberty to Consummate 
it as they saw meet in y° Eear of y' Lord." They were married 

• New Jersey Archives, ist Ser. Vol. XXI, p. 229. Also Do. Vol. XXIII, 109. 
' N. J. Archives, ist Ser. Vol. XXIII, p. 248. 

' Samuel Smith. "History of the Colony of Nova Cssarea, or New Jersey." 

Burlington, 1765, p. 109. 

* Revel's Book of Surveys in Office of Sec. of State, N. J. Liber B, Part I, p. I, 
"April i^-e, 1677. Thomas Hooton to John Woolman, for 1/32 of a share of West 

" For the text of deed see Appendix. The State Archives (Vol. XXI) thus name 
some of the purchases made: — Return of Survey for John Woolman, smo. i68s, of 
"4 Acres of Marrish (marsh) opposite to Enoch Core's house, on South side of 
Northampton Road." Revel. Lib. B. Part II, 78. July 25, 1692, Isaac Marriott 
of Burlington, yeoman, to John Woolman of Northampton, Weaver, for fifty acres 
"part of land bought of Thos. Budd, Jan. 11, 1861." Ibid. Lib. B. II, p. 530. 
November i, 1698. Wm. Borton, yeoman, to John Woolman, weaver, both of Bur- 
lington Co., for one hundred and ten acres on Rancocas Creek, adjoining, on north, 
Daniel Wills; south, John Petty. Bought by John Borton, father of the grantor of 
Daniel Wills, March 27, 1680." Ibid. Liber B. II, p. 655. 


on the sixteenth. EHzabeth Borton was the daughter of John and 
Ann Borton, who in 1679 had come from Aynhoe, in North- 
amptonshire, with a certiiicate of unity addressed to Burhngton, 
from the Meeting at Burton. ^ John Borton was also a West 
Jersey Proprietor, and is named by Samuel Smith as a Constable 
for the "London Tenth" of the settlers on the Delaware.^ Wool- 
man was a witness to the will of his father-in-law, John Borton 
of Hillsdown, on the south side of the Northampton River. "The 
deceased owned a part of Burlington Island and a thirty-second 
part of West Jersey, and asked to be buried in the Friends' 
Burying Place in Burlington." The will is dated July 28, 

John and Elizabeth Woolman settled in Northampton town- 
ship, on land which ran down to the Rancocas, where a fertile 
plantation was soon under cultivation. "The Constablery," from 
the Minute Book of the Supreme Court, begun in 1681 at Burling- 
ton, traces the original township boundaries for Northampton in 
1688. "The Constablery of Northampton: from Daniel Wills' 
plantation on Northampton river to y"" towne bounds, including 
Daniel Wills' plantation and George Elkinton's plantation." The 
site of the house was chosen with excellent judgment. On the 
north bank of the stream, it commanded a charming sweep of 
water and had the benefit of the southern sun and western breeze. 
The mere fact that the house was built of brick and not of timber, 
places the emigrant ancestor among the well-to-do. The numerous 
ancient houses of brick in Burlington County prove the excellence 
of the early product. Before the end of the seventeenth century, 
Doctor Coxe's potteries in Burlington turned out a superior china, 
and the clays of the neighborhood made the importation of brick 
from England unnecessary. The old house saw two generations 
born there, including the first John's famous grandson and name- 
sake. In 1806 it was taken down, and the bricks were used in 
the construction of a larger house several hundred feet higher 
up the bank, now occupied by the family of a late descendant in 
the seventh generation.* The farm is given over to fruit-raising, 
and the exact location of the early house is in a great field of 

' W. F. Cregar. "Ancestry of Wm. S. Haines." 
' Samuel Smith. "History of New Jersey." p. 152. 
" New Jersey Archives. XXIII. p. 47. 
* Granville Woolman Leeds. 


strawberries. An occasional brick is still ploughed up on the 
spot where it once stood. 

The first Friends' Meeting at Rancocas was held, as the 

minutes state, at the house of Thomas Harding, 3 months, 2, 1681.^ 
After this, for several years a settled meeting was held at John 
Woolman's, whose house became a sort of headquarters of 
Quakerism for Northampton, sharing with Thomas Olive's ^ 
house the meetings for the neighborhood. John Woolman in 
1684 subscribed eight shillings toward building the meeting house 
in Burlington. The records of Burlington, under date gmo. 7, 
1687 read, "The Weekly Meeting being on y* Fourth Day that 
use to be kept at Tho. Olive & Jno. Woolmans is Now Ordered 
to be kept at Daniel Wills house Weekly." A meeting house was 
completed soon after. In the early period of the settlement, the 
Rancocas is frequently called "Northampton River," and the 
minute of Burlington Monthly Meeting for "y® 1^^. of y*^ 12th Mo**" 
1707," indicates the increase in number of Friends' families locat- 
ing on that stream: "Several Friends Living within y" Fork of 
Northampton river & thereabouts, made request to this Meet- 
ing for an established Meeting for y'= accommodation of those 
Friends, which was left to y*^ consideration of y^ next Meet- 

John Woolman had a little tiff with his neighbor, Joshua 
Humphries, "broadweaver," son of Walter, for failing to keep 
up his fences, so that in 1701 the latter "complains on John Wool- 
man because of damage by Cretuers on his Corn." Six months 
of arbitration was followed by peaceful settlement, when the two, 
recently at odds, went amicably together as representatives to the 
same Quarterly meeting.^ When Joshua Humphries died in 1 721, 
he left a legacy for repairs to the meeting house at Northamp- 
ton.* Woolman was one of many signers to a "publick instru- 

' The Will of Thomas Harding, proved Dec. 6, 1708, of Wellingboro, Burlington 
Co., West Jersey, names his "home farm on Northampton River" and leaves a legacy 
to John Wills "for fencing the burying ground in Northampton Township." The 
inventory is made by John Woolman & Joshua Humphries, Oct. 6, 1708, amounting 
in personal property to £62. 6s. loHd. New Jersey Archives, XXIII, p. 210. 

^ Thomas Olive located six hundred and thirty-si.K acres and built the first grist 
mill in the province. He came from Buckinghamshire, England, and was a neighbor 
and intimate friend of Samuel Jenings, was a Justice of the Peace, and served as 
Deputy Governor of W. Jersey. He died 1694. 

' Minutes, Burl. M. M. for 2mo. 6, 1702, &c. 

■• New Jersey Archives. ist Ser., Vol. XXIII. 


ment," protesting to the authorities against the rioters who in 
1703, "brake open the prison dores in Buriington, and set the 
prisoners at large." His name also appears on the Petition to 
Lord Cornbury, dated Nov. 14, 1706, against the Governor's 
prohibition for granting warrants for land.^ 

^ ' On March 30th, 1692, had died William Woolman, father of 
John, an elderly man at the time of his arrival in the Jerseys. 
In 1688 John had given his father one hundred and fifty acres 
of land in Northampton Township, apparently in settlement of an 
arbitration between them. A survey made March 2, 1681, for 
Walter Humphries, for two hundred acres on "Rankokus, alias 
Northampton River," is described as adjoining lands of William 
JVoolnian and Bernard Devonish.- During the last four years of 
his life the father had lived at the house of George Elkinton, and 
as partial acknowledgment for the kindness shown him by his 
host and his wife, William Woolman gave to them seventy-five 
acres, — one-half of the land received from his son. We are left 
to surmise why the old man's last days were not spent in his son's 
care. Fifty years later, on 7mo. 17th. 1742, John Wills, son of 
Daniel Wills, whose farm joined that of John Woolman, made a 
very interesting affidavit to the effect that William Woolman's 
son John had never claimed the land thus presented to the old 
man's caretakers ; the action was probably taken to clear a 

A census of Northampton Township in 1709 gives us a very 
interesting record of the ages of the members of John Woolman's 
family. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, is not named ; she had 
married Nathaniel Payne in 1703, at the early age of eighteen: 

John Woolman aged 54 

Elizabeth, his wife. 







Isaac Satterthwaite, 17, is the apprentice who lived with them. 

^ New Jersey Archives. Vol. Ill, p. 165. 
= N. J. Archives, XXI, 349. 

" See Appendix. John Woolman to his father, Wm. Woolman, i2mo. (Feb.) 13, 
1688. Wm. Woolman to Geo. Elkinton, lamo. (Feb.) 21, 1692. 


The population of the township at this time is recorded as a 
total of two hundred and thirty-one. 

For thirty-four years John Woolman and his wife Hved happily 
together on the banks of the beautiful Rancocas. In April, 1718 
he died at the age of sixty-three, leaving in his will ^ all his real 
and personal estate for the use of his wife, his son Samuel and his 
five daughters. Samuel, the only son, was made executor. An 
inventorv of the estate, filed 3mo. (May) 13, 1718, shows £440, 
19, 2, including £212, 8, 2 in bonds, bills and debts — an ample 
competency, in addition to the real estate, in those pioneer days. 
Elizabeth Woolman died almost immediately after her husband, 
aged fifty-five.- Her will was appro^'ed May 30, 1718. 

Of the five daughters, Elizabeth,^" ' the eldest, was married 
three times. Her first husband was Nathaniel Payne of Mansfield, 
N. J., to whom she was married 5mo.(July) ist, 1703. His will 
was proved May 26, 1707.* She then married "7th of y* 4mo. 
(June)" 1708, Robert Hunt, who died in 1716. In 1718, the year 
of her parents' deaths, she married John Harvey. Her death 
occurred after his, in 1756. Her sister, Ann Woolman,^" married 
9mo.(Nov.) 1712, John Buffin. Ann's marriage is not in the mar- 
riage Records of her meeting, but may be found in the minutes. 
Those of Ann's sisters are regularly recorded. Mary,^" the third 
daughter, married 2mo. (April) 4th, 1720, William Hunt of 
Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 

A removal certificate is on record for the two younger sisters, 
Hannah and Hester, dated Burlington, 5mo. (July) 7, 1729, and 
directed to Philadelphia. Hannah had been Treasurer of the 
Women's Meeting, Mt. Holly. There is in the list of marriages in 
the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, by the Governor's 
License, that of Hannah Woolman to Joseph Burgoin (Bur- 
goyne), dated 2mo. (xA.pril) 10, 1735. Family notes also in- 
dicate that this is the correct name of the husband of Hannah 
Woolman, but the editor has not tmdertaken to trace her further 
history. Letters are advertised for "John Burgoine" in the 
Philadelphia Postoflice in 1762.-'^ 

' See Appendix: also N. J. Archives. XXIII, p. 524, 

^ See Appendix, One wonders if small-pox, the frequent scourge, attacked them? 

' See also N. J. Archives. XXXIII, p. 351, Orig. Lib. I. 

' .See also Trenton Records, p, 180, 

° See "Pennsylvania Gazette" for July 8, 1762. 


Hester (or Esther) youngest of the family, born in 1707, 
removed with her sister Elannah to Philadelphia in 1729, and soon 
after married John Allen, of West Nottingham, Pennsylvania; the 
editor has not yet found the meeting record. Her husband's will 
made her his executor with his son John, who, however, died a 
year after his father. The elder John's will was probated Octo- 
ber 2, 1758; the son's October 26, 1759: the latter leaves iio 
to his mother, Esther Allen, and a legacy to his sister Patience. 
He leaves also £5 "to Cousin John Woolman" and the same sum 
to John Woolman's mother, his aunt Elizabeth Woolman.^ Hes- 
ter Woolman's descendants are still living in Pennsylvania. 

Joseph Devonish, son of Bernard, a neighbor of Samuel Wool- 
man, left in his will dated i2mo. (February) 22, 1747, "to the 
two daughters of my friend, Samuel Woolman, namely Hannah 
and Esther, to each of them the sum of ten pounds." Both 
Samuel and John Woolman witnessed this will, which was prob- 
ably drawn up by the latter, and which was proved March ist. 
1748, when John Woolman and John Stokes made the inventory.^ 

Samuel Woolman" (1690-1750), only son of John and Eliza- 
beth (Borton) Woolman, born 3mo. (May) 14, 1690, succeeded 
his father on the plantation along the Rancocas, and was remark- 
able for his intelligence and perseverance. He added to the 
original acreage and acquired parcels of land elsewhere. His mar- 
riage to Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Hudson) 
Burr, took place 8 mo. (Oct.) 21st, 1714.'' 

Samuel Woolman was a man of affairs, and that he took up his 
duties as a citizen is shown in the report of an election in Burling- 
ton County for members of the Assembly, held 3mo. (May) 14, 
1739. Woolman was one of the four candidates, the others being 
Mahlon Stacy, William Cook, and Joshua Wright. Stacy and 
Cook were elected. Of particular interest to us is the fact that 
Samuel Woolman's son John, the Journalist, served as one of the 

' Chester County Wills, Penna. For the will of John Allen of West Nottingham, 
see Book D, p. 125. For the son, John Jr., Book D, p. 174. John Jr. lived at East 
Marlborough, Pa. Patience Allen married, 1771, James, son of Thomas and Isabel 
Gawthrop, whose family in England John Woolman visited in 1772. (See Appendix.) 
(Biog. Note 84.) 

^ New Jersey Archives. Series I, Vol. XXX, p. 142. 

3 Records, Burr, M. M. A "TestiTUony to the Memory of Elizabeth Burr" was 
recorded by Mount Plolly M. M. 8mo. 5th, 1778. Henry Burr was in the Jerseys 
in 1682, and bought land of Robt. Dimsdale, 1688. 


clerks of the election, being then a youth of nineteen.^ Samuel 
Woolman witnesses various wills recorded in New Jersey, as well 
as makes inventories. 

Samuel and Elizabeth Woolman brought up a large family of 
thirteen children, seven sons and six daughters, of whom John, 
the Journalist, was fourth child and eldest son.^ It was their 
custom on the first day of the week to gather their children about 
them for Scripture reading and verse memorizing. An education 
quite in advance of others in their neighborhood was bestowed 
upon them, and the sons, besides successfully conducting com- 
fortable and profitable farms, were surveyors, conveyancers, and 
merchants, who shared in the business affairs of the community. 
They were known as men of upright character, concise of speech, 
and grave of demeanor, — a trait not entirely lost in some of the 
family today. 

Samuel Woolman died in the autumn of 1750 at the age of 
sixty. His will ^ was proved December 17, 1750. It was wit- 
nessed by John, "nth of 6mo. (Aug.) 1750." The will* of his 
wife Elizabeth, dated "11 of 2mo. (Feb.), 1772" was proved 
October 21, 1773. She outlived several of her children, includ- 
ing her famous son John. All of the children of Samuel and 
Elizabeth married, with the exception of Elizabeth and Rachel. 
Elizabeth ^^ is the only one of his brothers and sisters to whom 
John refers by name in his Journal. He appears to have looked 
up to her as eldest of the family, and the two were undoubtedly 
m,uch in sympathy in spiritual things. They were but five 
years apart in age, although two sisters, Sarah and Patience, came 
between them. In an unpublished portion of the Journal ^ John 
relates an anecdote of Elizabeth. Checked by their parents in 
paying a visit at a distance to a certain young friend, of whose 
desirability as companion there was some doubt, Elizabeth with 
her two sisters returned home. "Elizabeth," writes her brother, 
"expressed her satisfaction at being put by, adding this Rhyme, 

Such as thy companions be. 

So will people think of thee." 

* "Toll Book" of John J. Thompson. 
2 See Appendix, Biog. Note, ii. 

^ See Appendix, for text. 

* See Appendix, for text. 

** M.S. C, at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. 


Perhaps with the idea of reheving her parents in the care of 
so large a family, Elizabeth at an early age took up tailoring as a 
source of independence, and removed in 1740 to Haddonfield, New 
Jersey, where for the rest of her life she made her permanent 
home. She had a small inheritance, and succeeded in her trade, 
so that at the time of her death of smallpox in 1746, at the early 
age of thirty-one, she left sufficient property to remember in her 
will 1 each member of her family. Her "Great Bible" is given 
to her father ; to her mother she leaves her "great looking glass," 
and to her brother John, twelve pounds "Proclamation Money," ^ 
and her gold buttons, a gift which, in the light of after years, 
seems curiously incongruous ! John was her executor and settled 
her affairs jointly with their brother Asher. 

When the mission of John Woolman took him away from the 
family circle, his next brother Asher (1722-1796) undertook the 
duties usually falling to an eldest son.^ Their mother evidently 
depended upon him as much as upon John, as she advanced in 
years. Her home, in accordance with the will of Samuel Wool- 
man, continued to be in the old house, which was left to Asher, 
with the use for her of "two brick rooms down stairs and the 
least brick room above stairs, and half the cellar and half the 
kitchen, during her widowhood." She also had half of every- 
thing else, including the barn, in which to house "the sorrel fmare 
called 'Bonny' and her colt," which her thoughtful husband left her 
to ride to meeting. 

All the brothers appear to have settled in New Jersey, and 
most of them remained in Burlington County. Uriah Woolman ^^ 
(1728-1804) was for a time resident in Philadelphia, but the 

^Appendix, for text of will. She left personal estate to the value of £273, 11, 
II. Elizabeth (Haddon) Estaugh was a witness. Elizabeth Woolman's certificate of 
removal, Mt. Holly to Haddonfield, is dated "4 of 6mo. (Aug.), 1740." 

2 "Proclamation Money." The Proclamation of the sixth year of Queen Ann, 1704, 
had fixed the value of coin in the Colonies. An Order in Council, May 19, 1720, for- 
bade any emissions by the Colonies without Royal assent. (H. Phillips, Jr., "American 
Paper Currency," p. 104.) In 1742, £132 Jersey money equalled £88 sterling. 
"War Notes," redeemable five years from date, were issued between 1740 and 1758 
and raised exchange in West Jersey. The several colonies passed laws with the 
intention of making the paper money issued equal to the barter currency of the 
Colony, which was below sterling. This paper was called "Proclamation Money." 
(C. J. Bullock, "Monetary History of the United States," p. 131.) 

^ In 1764 Asher Woolman is one of six persons offering £10 reward for a German 
Christopher Housler, "who absconded from Burlington County with bis wife and five 
children in a waggon and two horses not his own." Penna. Gazette for Oct. 25, 1764, 


house in which he lived and which was sold by his executor in 
1809, known as "Breezy Ridge," stood until 1918 on a fine loca- 
tion a short distance from the present railroad station of Haine^- 
port, a mile below Mount Holly. It was at that date destroyed b'y 
fire. Uriah Woolman married in 1769 his cousin, Susanna Burr, 
daughter of the Surveyor General of the Province, John Burr.'^ 
Uriah was the only brother of John Woolman who died leaving no 

^ See Appendix. Bjog, Note, 13. 



The Rancocas is a picturesque stream which rises in the 
eastern part of Burlington County in New Jersey and, after 
a course of twenty devious miles, empties into the Delaware 
River, sixteen miles above Philadelphia. It is navigable for ten 
miles, as far as Hainesport, and for canoes and light skiffs, much 
farther. The village of Rancocas is on the stream of the same 
name, six miles from its junction with the Delaware. 

At the date of John Woolman's birth, October 19, 1720, the 
little community of Ancocas (which later added an 7? for 
euphony), was largely made up of families living wide apart in 
Northampton township, a portion of Burlington County settled 
almost entirely by English Quakers, many of them from London, 
Yorkshire, and Gloucestershire. In marked contrast to East Jer- 
sey, where Dutch and Scotch inheritances were prominent in the 
social life and character of the people, West Jersey was essen- 
tially English in its manner and habit of thought.^ Customs 
brought over from Yorkshire especially, prevailed in the neigh- 
borhood for generations, and, until recently, the farmer sold his 
eggs by the score, as is still done on the Yorkshire moors, rather 
than by the dozen. Farmers' leases today in central and southern 
New Jersey, date from March twenty-fifth, "Lady Day," rather 
than from May first, as is the custom elsewhere. An admixture 

^ That this distinction has been little understood is evident in the recent apprecia- 
tion bv W. Teignmouth Shore, in his "John Woolman: His Life and Our Times." 
He has followed a German's book describing life on a farm among people of that 
nationality in East Jersey, which was as distinct from the English customs which 
Woolman inherited as though the boundary line had been a wall between the two 
parts of the Province. The editor has elsewhere drawn attention to this distinction. 
["Quakers in the American Colonies" — Part II, "Quakers in New Jersey."] 



of French Huguenot refugees was combined with this basic ele- 
ment in West Jersey social life, and many of these exiled Prot- 
estants became identified with the Quakers. Their names are 
still borne by Quaker families which have long been prominent 
in the various meetings. The Gauntt brothers, to instance but one 
case, who married two of John Woolman's sisters, were of French 
Huguenot descent. 

At this period the primeval forest was not yet cleared from 
many of the plantations in the Jerseys. Ancocas, then not even 
a village, was connected by five miles of rough road with Bridge- 
town, which later became Mount Holly, and was its nearest set- 
tlement. "The Mount," from which the town was named, is one 
of a series of low sandstone hills extending across the Province. 
These hills were used by the Government for semophore com- 
munication by means of signals and colored lights. A Return of 
Survey from the original owner, John Cripps, (d. 1734), in 
1681, for three hundred acres of land, mentions the line south 
of Rancocas River as running "through a Swamp, wherein grows 
Store of Holly, and within said Tract is a Mountain ( !), to 
which the Prospect East, South, West, and North Send a beauti- 
ful Aspect, named by the owner thereof, Mount Holly." ^ 

The Quakers of Northampton Township were all members of 
the Monthly Meeting of Burlington, which was already a large 
and prosperous town on the Delaware, seven miles to the west." 
The prime care of the planters had been to provide the neces- 
saries of life, and agriculture and the mechanic arts claimed first 
attention. But although plantation life with primitive appliances 
was laborious, simplicity and neighborly kindness were conspic- 
uous in an eminent degree, and early hardships were even then 
giving way to what were regarded by some as dangerous luxuries. 
The JournaHst's family were prominent among the plainer set- 

John Woolman was exceptionally intelligent, and was taught 
to read, he says, "as early as he was capable of it." This is an 
equal testimony to the intelligence of his parents. The little 
school which he attended was under the care of the Friends, about 
a half mile west of the village. There is record of its building in 

1 N. J. Archives, Vol. XXI. ist Ser. p. 349. 

* The Monthly Meeting of Mount Holly was set off from Burlington in 1775. 





a 2 


1 68 1, while the meeting was held at Thomas Harding's, the owner 
of the plantation. The property later came into the hands of the 
Stokes family and has since been known as Stokingham. An 
Indian village on an elevated site was also within the limits of 
Thomas Harding's plantation, with a never-failing spring of 
water hard by. The Indians shared this spring with the Friends, 
and under the great swamp-magnolia trees which filled the air 
with fragrance, the latter built their school house, twenty feet 
square, and within a hundred yards of the spring. It is not 
many years since some of the trees were still standing, and Indian 
arrow heads are yet found upon the site. The old graveyard is 
near by.^ The present meeting house in the village of Rancocas 
dates only from 1772, the year of John Woolman's death. There 
were in Woolman's time about forty meeting houses in the entire 
province of New Jersey. 

The young Woolman must have been a sensitive and sympa- 
thetic child, possessed of that priceless gift, a vivid imagination. 
We can see the little boy of seven, stepping aside from the high- 
road on his way to school, to sit down and meditate upon the 
glories of the Holy City, the magnificent description of which 
in the Book of Revelations had fired his childish thought. The 
Journal's opening paragraphs show this temperament very clearly, 
and the way in which the daily walk to school marks for him in 
after years, the struggles of his early awakened conscience. The 
incident of the robin's nest is dear to all Woolman lovers.- The 
dream which he had when but eight years old must have very 
deeply impressed him, since he wrote it down at the age of thirty- 
six, and three times afterwards copied it out at length for the 
printer. It has, however, been omitted in every previous edition. 
There is no moral in it, hardly even an end, for it terminates most 

^ Charles Stokes: "History of Rancocas Friends' School." 

2 A story told of Abraham Lincoln makes a remarkable parallel to this familiar and 
oft-quoted anecdote of Woolman. When Lincoln was a lawyer in Springfield, 111., he 
was one day going with a party of lawyers to attend court in another town. They 
rode, two by two, on horseback through a country lane. Lincoln was in the rear. 
As they passed through a thicket of wild plum and crabapple trees, his friends missed 
Lincoln. "Where is he?" they asked. Just then Lincoln's companion came riding up. 
"Oh," replied he, "when I saw him last he had^ caught two young birds which the 
wind had blown out of their nest, and he was hunting the nest to put them back." 
After a little while Lincoln caught up with his friends, and when they rallied him 
about his tender heart, he said: "I could not have slept if I had not restored those 
little birds to their mother." 


abruptly; yet there it stands — little John Woolman's Dream of 
the Sun-Worm. 

This quality of imagination was no passing thing. At twenty- 
one, left to sleep in the lonely chamber where a Scotch redemp- 
tioner, a newly bought ser\ant of his master, had died the 
night before in delirium, he speaks pathetically of his own timidity 
and dread of the place in the hours of the night. But a strong 
will overcame his horror. Is it not to the vivid imagination of 
John Woolman, by which he was able to visualize in such an amaz- 
ing degree the situation of his fellow beings, that we owe his 
peculiar power to enter sympathetically into the needs of all man- 
kind? He spent his life in what was perhaps the most conserva- 
tive community in the whole of Quakerism, where even the word 
"imagination" would be a shock to his neighbors ; and yet it is 
that very quality of mind that may well differentiate him from 
almost every other Quaker journalist of his century. 

Of Woolman's education we have only the glimpse of his 
attendance at the village school ; the school house under Friends' 
care, sheltered the children of the best families in the little com- 
munity; more than this we do not know. Woolman says of him- 
self, "Having had schooling pretty well for a planter, I used to 
improve myself in winter evenings, antl other leisure times." His 
father had a good library ; the inventory made at Samuel Wool- 
man's death shows that it included works on divinity, navigation 
and law. There is abundant evidence of the son's wide reading, 
and of his acquaintance with books which may have had influence 
upon that style which is the charm of his writing. The literature 
of Europe was beginning to be more accessible at this period, and 
the young Woolman grew up at a time of great progress and ad- 
vancement in the new colony. 

The home circle of the family was limited, but at Burlington, 
where he constantly visited, and where was a group of excep- 
tionally well educated and intelligent Friends, he had the foreign 
publications at his service. There is abundant evidence that he 
made the best use of his opportunities. He was very intimate 
in the family of the historian, Samuel Smith, ^' and of his dis- 
tinguished brother, John.^^' son-in-law of James Logan, (1674- 
1751) and a founder of the Pennsylvania Hospital. Their friend 
also, Jonathan Belcher, (1682-1757) Governor of New Jersey, 


had removed to Burlington, and his house and hbrary were at 
Woolman's disposal. Through the efforts of these cultivated 
men the Burlington Libran,' received its charter in 1757 from 
King George II. The Library at "Bridgetown" was also char- 
tered eight years after, in 1765. John Woolman's relatives and 
friends were represented among the original subscribers, but his 
own name does not appear on either library' list. At the date of 
that in his home town, his scruples as to the literature introduced 
would have prevented his subscribing. 

But he at no time confined his reading exclusively to Quaker 
literature. He quotes Cave's "Primitive Christianity," Fox's 
"Acts and Monuments," Thomas a Kempis, and the French 
quietistic writers in the English translations. Especially did he 
study those books of travel written by the Jesuit Fathers who ex- 
plored India and Africa, and they and the agents of the East 
India Company are frequently quoted. 

There are many strong suggestions of Fenelon about the 
essays, and one has but to read the two together to be convinced 
that the peculiar literar}^ style of Woolman was gained by no 
accident. Not that he in any way imitated the French writer, but 
he was so saturated with the atmosphere and thought of the 
famous Abbe, whose works at this period were upon the tables 
of all the best educated Quakers, that the style is reflected in his^ 
essays, even to the choice of title. Compare, for instance, Feij^- 
lon's "Dissertation on Pure Love," with Woolman's "Essay on 
Pure Wisdom." It is chiefly in the Essays that one finds re- 
flected the French influence. The identical volume of Thomas 
Bromley's "Way to the Sabbath of Rest," which was in the library 
of Elizabeth Smith, ^" the sister of Samuel and John, still exists, 
and was one of the much admired works then perused by them all. 

The first portions of the Abbe Raynal's "Philosophical and 
Political History of the Europeans in the East and West Indies" 
appeared in 1755. Doubtless his friend, Anthony Benezet,* saw 
to it that Woolman had the translation. Benezet was a life long 
correspondent of the famous Abbe. The advance chapters of 
this book received great attention, as had the same author's "Lit- 
erary Anecdotes" two years before. Justamond's translation did 
not appear until 1776. It is interesting to find today in the 
Ridgway Branch of the Philadelphia Library, some of the works 



imported by John Smith and left by him with his own books to 
the Hbrary which James Logan founded. These are in all prob- 
ability the identical volumes used by John Woolman. Smollett's 
"Voyages" and his History appeared in 1757, and were also 
closely studied, and Smollett himself was a correspondent of 
the brothers Smith. Woolman was a hard reader all his Hfe, and 
when one reflects upon the intimate friends who loved and ad- 
mired him, among whom were the distinguished brothers Pem- 
berton,^,",* and the Frenchman, Anthony Benezet,* only second 
to Woolman in the importance of his anti-slavery work, one 
becomes somewhat impatient at encountering in every writer on 
Woolman, the persistent tradition of his illiteracy, linked usually 
with poverty. That he was neither unlearned nor poor, there is 
abundant evidence. Both impressions have doubtless come from 
the utter simplicity of the man's life and thought. He speaks of 
his family as "we who are of a middle station between poverty and 
riches." ^ 

We now know that John Woolman was an accomplished school 
teacher and taught rnany years, publishing a "Primer' which 
went through at least three editions. \He mastered surveying and 
read enough law to obtain the legal knowledge necessary to draw 
wills, for which his services were in constant demand ; to exe- 
cute deeds and do conveyancing. Six estates for which he served 
as executor are named, with the accounting, in his manuscript 
account book, and old deeds in private hands, and in the Record 
Office in his native county, togetlier with-marriage "Certificates 
and surveyors' plans, all in his clear handwriting, are frequently 
turning up in unexpected ways. Passages in his writings indi- 
cate a legal turn of mind. In the chapter, for instance, "On Lov- 
ing Our Neighbors as Ourselves," is the following syllogism : 

"In great measure there is a great trust. 
A great trust requireth a great care ; 
But the laborious mind wants rest." 

Again, in his last mystical epistle to his countrymen, before sail- 
ing for London in the spring of 1772, he says: 

^ Essay "On Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves." 


"The Church is called the body of Christ : 
Christ is called the Head of the Church ; 
The Church is called the Pillar and Ground of the Truth." 

Even surgerj[_was not unfamiliar, for evidentl^Woolman fre- 
quently bled people, and his judgment was of value to both the 
body and mind of his neighbor. Surely this is no illiterate labor- 
ing man who produces a wonderful book, but one possessed of as 
much self-taught wisdom as many another famous man, not to 
mention his neighbor, Benjamin Franklin. (1706-1790). 

Anyone familiar with life in the Jerseys at this period will 
remark the total absence in the Journal of any reference to the 
great philosopher. Franklin was the publisher of Woolman's 
second essay on "Considerations," &c. as to the Negro, (1762), 
and the two men must often have met. Moreover, Franklin Park, 
on the outskirts of Rancocas, the residence of Franklin's son, 
William, (1729-1813) better known later as the Tory Governor, 
was frequently the retreat of his father. On the streams and 
swamps nearby he pursued his investigations into phosphoric 
phenomena, and all sorts of agricultural experiments were made 
on the farm, which comprised some two hundred acres. The large 
mansion was burned about 1843 ''"d the park was later divided 
into several small farms. The deep ditch or moat surrounding 
the deer park may still be faintly traced to-day; twenty-five years 
ago it was clearly marked. 

John Woolman must have been aware of the work of these 
agricultural pioneers, and of the Agricultural Society to which also 
belonged some of his wealthy Quaker neighbors. But one can 
imagine no sympathy between the practical scientist and the 
Quaker idealist. Their views of life, present and future, were 
too radically different to permit of any common standing ground, 
and Woolman would naturally shrink from the brilliant social cir- 
cle in which the Franklins, father and son, moved together, until 
their differing political opinions separated them at the time of 
the American Revolution. 

The pleasures of youth, as Woolman describes them, were 
temptations which he does not give us in any detail, but he leaves 
a picture in our minds of a sensitive spirit, whose disrespectful 
reply to his mother was never repeated after his father's gentle 


and wise reproof, and who was preserved "from profanity and 
scandalous conduct." He loved vanities and mirthful company 
in a normal and natural way, but through all he "retained a love 
and esteem for pious people" and frequently read religious 
authors. At sixteen he was very ill, and made thoughtful by the 
circumstance, on his recovery he writes, "I was early convinced 
in my mind that true religion consisted of an inward life ... I 
found no narrowness respecting sects and opinions, but believed 
that sincere, upright-hearted people in every society, who truly 
love God, were accepted of him." In this spirit of wide sympathy, 
so utterly foreign to the average young man, was lived out the 
whole of Woolman's life. 

Until the age of twenty, our Journalist, as he says, "wrought 
on his father's plantation." A paragraph omitted in earlier edi- 
tions of the Journal tells us that he was desired by a shop-keeper 
and baker to tend shop and keep books. For this he asked and 
obtained his father's consent, adding, "I had for a considerable 
t'me found my Mind less given to Husbandry than heretofore, 
having often in mind some other way of living." In the year 
1740 he was settled in his master's shop at Mount Holly, six 
miles from his master's house, and seven from his own. 

With his entrance at twenty-one into what he doubtless re- 
garded as a career, in a little village containing all that he knew 
of the great world, excepting the occasional glimpses which he 
had of the city of Philadelphia, eighteen miles distant, we have 
the beginning of a life that was henceforth dedicated to his Mas- 
ter's service. He was quite alone after the day's work was done 
and his employer had gone home. He pursued his reading, im- 
proved himself in his education, and had time for pious medita- 
tion. It was so small an incident as the agreement to drink a 
health at an ale house that brought on the crisis in George Fox's 
life, and sent him forth to struggle with his soul in the wilder- 
ness. Fox was then nineteen. A similarly important crisis in 
John Woolman's life, and at nearly the same age, was brought 
about by being unexpectedly called upon to write a bill of sale 
for his employer's negro woman. The agitation into which this 
incident threw him marks the moment when he became dedicated 
to the life-long effort to free the slave — a result which he did 
not himself live to see. The Quakers held much property in 


human flesh throughout the colonies, and at Perth Amboy stood 
the slave market where scenes occurred that must have rent John 
Woolman's heart. 

He became much more serious and in this year, 1740-1, he 
records his first appearance in the ministry. But fearing that he 
had too much enlarged upor} his message, he sat in abasement 
of spirit for six weeks before he again broke the silence of his 
little meeting. The house in which he first uttered his message 
no longer stands. Where can be found in few words, so vivid a 
description of the living spirit which moved him and his prede- 
cessors in the Faith, as in these words of the Quaker ^outh? "All 
the faithful are not called to the pu blic m inistry ; but whoever 
are, are called to minister of that which they have tasted and 
handled, spiritually. The outward modes of worship are various ; 
but wherever any are true Ministers of Jesus Christ, it is from 
the operation of his spirit in their hearts, first purifying them, and 
thus giving them a just sense of the condition of others. This 
truth was early fixed in my mind, and I was taught to watch the 
pure opening." 

From the very beginning of his preaching Woolman appears 
to have been able to put aside the narrowness of thought and 
teaching by which he was surrounded, and to have grasped a 
sense of the uniiy~oi mankiTrd. The keynote of his message, at 
the very start, no less than at the moment when, wearied out, he 
laid down his life in a distant land, was always and ever. Love; 
Love to God and love to man. This single note runs through the 
life and writings of John Woolman, as has been said, like a silver 
thread that is always conspicuously bright and glowing, however 
dark the web in which it is woven by circumstance. 

His meeting recognized the power of the young preacher, 
for the Quarterly Meeting of Ministers and Elders at Burling- 
ton, under date "27th. day of 6mo. 1743" recorded on their 
minutes : "The Monthly Meeting of Burlington have recom- 
mended our friends, Peter Andrews,^' John Woolman, and 
Josiah White,'** who have sometimes appear'd in a way of pub- 
lick testimony, as Friends whom they have unity with, to be 
members of this meeting." Woolman, much the youngest, was 
but twenty-three. 

Almost immediately after this formal recognition the young 


^Woolman accompanied Abraham Farrington," an elderly- 
preacher, on a brief tour through northern New Jersey. Wool- 
man at first hesitated, but some elderly Friends whom he consulted 
advised him to go. During this first and most important preach- 
ing tour of John Woolman it is interesting to note that nearly all 
the meetings were held in pla'cfis^here no ^Quakers we^re set- 
tled. In the town tavern at Brunswick they had a large and 
attentive congregation. The same thing happened in the Pres- 
byterian settlements in East Jersey. A large meeting in the Court 
House at Perth Amboy, where the Provincial Assembly was then 
in session, was attended by many members of that body. A large 
proportion of these were Quakers, or of Quaker affiliations, and 
some of them were life-long friends of the old preacher and his 
young companion. One of these was the Treasurer of the Prov- 
ince, Samuel Smith. Woolman says his "ancient Companion 
preached largely in the love of the Gospel" to the statesmen and 
prominent people present. He himself took but an occasional 
brief part, "with" as he says, "much care that I might speak 
only what Truth opened. My mind was often tender, and 
I learned some profitable lessons. We were out about two weeks." 
This was in the autumn of 1743 and was Woolman's first visit 
away from home on such an errand. Abraham Farrington ^^ died 
in London on a religious visit in 1758. 

The Journal at this period tells its own story of the daily 
life of Woolman, with somewhat more detail than at other times. 
We learn that in the falling ofT of his master's business in "mer- 
chandising," Woolman began to look about for more permanent 
employment, especially as thoughts of the possibility of "set- 
tling" — i.e., marrying — arose in his mind. There is no certain clue 
to the name of this master, but he apparently carried on a large 
general business such as was for a century or more to be found 
in country districts throughout the colonies, supplying the farm- 
ing population with every possible need, not furnished by their 
own farms. He made up into clothing the cloth woven on the 
hand looms, and for this purpose employed a man who had 
learned tailoring. With his characteristic thoroughness Woolman 
determined that this would furnish him with a living, and if so, 
he must become skilful and learn the trade properly. The way 
was made easy by his master; terms were agreed upon, and 

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John Woolman became an apprentice, serving for three years, 
without severing his connection with the shop, or his bookkeeping. 
For this period of his hfe we may turn to his own Smaller 
Account Book, in which also he later entered his accounts for 
the several estates for which he became executor. The little 
paper book, six by eight inches in size, begins with his Appren- 
ticeship account. The brief tailoring charges contain so many 
interesting names, and bring before us so vividly the appearance of 
the worthy people — nearly all Quakers whose clothing was made 
by the young tailor — that some of the items are here reproduced. 
Elizabeth Haddon in 1702 became the Elizabeth Estaugh -" 
whose name is first on the list. She was the founder of Haddon- 
field, and probably aided John's sister, Elizabeth, who was her 
intimate friend, when she set up as a tailoress near by. Her 
name appears as a witness on Elizabeth Woolman, Jr's " will. It 
will be seen that John Woolman notes in the margin of his account, 
the end of each six months of his service. 

£ s. d. 
1743 To work Done for Eliz. Estaugh 

ye 8 mo. 2 Days i cash 00 03 09 

ye 21 To makeing a Stomacher for Eliz. 

Matlack 00 02 06 

To makeing Calamink gown for 

Achsah Matlack 00 03 06 

To Makeing a Short Cloak for 

May Mickle 00 02 00 

To makeing a pair of Coat Stays 

for Debe Burough 00 02 00 

To makeing a Gown for Judith 

Hampton 00 03 00 

To makeing a Pair of Leather 

.- . • ■' Britches for Titus 00 02 00 

To makeing a bonit Civer for Eliz. 

Lord — cash 00 01 00 

To makeing a Jackit for John 

Crage 00 02 00 

To makeing a Long Cloak & head 

for Martha Matlack 00 07 00 

, .^ To makeing a Double gown for 

Mary Caighn — cash 00 03 00 


£ s. d. 
To makeing a Short Cloak for 

Sarah Elton oo 02 00 

To makeing a poplin gown for 

Sarah Elton 00 03 06 

To makeing a short gown for 

Martha Matlack 00 01 06 

To work done for Eliz Estaugh 

3 days cash 00 05 00 

To work done for Timothy Mat- 
lack I da 00 01 06 

To makeing a pair of Stays for 

Hannah Woolman 00 18 00 

To makeing a flaning wais coat 

for Martha Matlack 00 01 00 

1 mo. y* 13, 1744 To makeing a Calleco gown for 

Judith Hampton 00 03 00 

To makeing a brown fustin Cap 

for David Elwell 00 01 00 

To makeing a Child's coat for 

David Elwell 00 05 00 

Tq makeing a Pair of bodies & 

Stomacher for M. Rosendhale.. 00 14 00 
To makeing a Pair of Trousers 

for Reuben Haines 00 01 00 

To cutting out two Tunicks for 

William Griscom 00 00 08 

To makeing oznabriggs Jackit 2 

Pair britches — Timothy 00 10 00 

2 mo. 17, end To Jackit Britches for Timo. Mat- 

of i^' y-i year lack 00 04 00 

To work done for Isaac Andrews 00 03 00 
To work done for Robert Elton, 

4 days — cash 00 06 00 

To work done for Samuel Wool- 
man 5 days 00 08 00 

To days work for Eliz. Estaugh, 
Cash 00 02 00 

To work done for Isaac Andrews 

4 days 00 og 00 

To work done for Isaac Smith i 
da § 00 02 06 


f. s. d. 
To makeing a short Clock for Ann 

Elton Jur 00 01 00 

To work done for Eliz Estaugh 2 

days 00 01 00 

To makeing a short gown for Eliz. 

Estaugh 00 01 00 

8 mo. 17, 1744 To makeing a Great Coat for 

End of i^' year Thos. Robson 00 07 06 

To makeing a gown for Timothy's 

Betty 00 03 00 

12 mo. 14 To plating a Pair of Bridle Reins 

for John Collins 00 08 00 

174s To makeing a home spun gown 

2 mo. 17, for Martha M 00 02 06 

End 3'^ Yi year To Quilting a Petecoat for Eliz. 

Estaugh 00 08 00 

To Plating a Pair of Bridle Reins 

John Shivers 00 01 00 

Quilting a Petecoat for Mary 

Caighain ' 00 08 00 

To work done for Samuel Wool- 
man 00 04 00 

To makeing a Little bonit for 

Amey Gill 00 00 10 

To makeing a Pair of Trousers 

for John Craig 00 16 00 

8 mo. 17 "Which makes this year ye 2d 

year too amount to 20 09 09 

1745 To makeing leather Britches for 

Joseph 00 02 06 

To makeing a habbit for Eliza. 

Kaighn 00 02 00 

To makeing a Planing Jackit for 

Josh. Kaighan 00 02 00 

To work done for William Gris- 

com — I day 00 01 00 

To makeing a Pair of Stays for 

Achsah Siddons 00 03 00 

To Plating a Pair of Bridle 

Reigns for Sarah Lord 00 01 00 


f. s. d. 
2 mo. 9 To makeing i Tunuck for Seth 

Matlack oo 02 oo 

To makeing a Pair of Trousers 

2 mo. i6 I mo. 28* for Cupid — Cash 00 01 00 

End of 4 mo. 30"' To makeing a Pair of Brown 

1746 Hollon britches for Jno 02 00 

5"' y^ yr- To makeing one coat for J. 

5 mo. 14 Kaighn's servant 00 04 00 

1746 The last charge is 
6 mo. 2""^ "To work done for Thomas Red- 
man I da." 00 01 00 

Could anything bring more vividly before us the homely pleas- 
ant details of the lives of these country folk? Everything is 
furnished at the tailorshop, for both men and women. Leather 
"britches" and "jackits" share with women's "petecotes" and 
stays, and out of the long and narrow strips of leather trimmed 
from the edges of the skins are braided the bridle-reins for 
"Bonny," the mare on which John Woolman's mother, Eliza- 
beth Woolman, rode over to Monthly Meeting, as well as those 
for the men. John CoUins's reins must have been long ones for 
driving, or, if for the saddle, very elaborate, for they cost eight 
shillings. The usual price was one shilling. "Cupid," a negro, 
"J. Kaighan's servant," and "Titus" are all furnished with cloth- 
ing by this democratic tailor, as well as their masters and mis- 
tresses. And what was Amey Gill's "Little bonit" like, we won- 

This small account book has been made by Woolman himself 
from larger sheets, cut down and stitched together, and bears on 
the outside in the owner's hand, the following inscription : 

"John Woolman's Book 
Of Executorship 
To the Last Wills of 
" Elizabeth Woolman, Dec'd 

Samuel Haines, Dec'd 
" Samuel Woolman, Dec'd ,] 

"^ Thomas Shinn, Dec'd 


Negro Maria, Dec'd 
"Peter Fearon, Dec'd." 


It is evident that the careful Woolman, having but a few pages 
occupied by his apprenticeship accounts, has reversed the Httle 
book, and beginning at the opposite end, has used it later for his 
accounts as executor. The apprentice's account is the earliest 
holograph manuscript of Woolman that we have. The first page, 
reversed, reads, "John Woolman's Book of Executorship As 
Joyntly Concern'd with his brother Asher in the last Will of 

da. mo. 
Elizabeth Woolman, Jun''. Dec'd y" 17: i : 1746-7." Over page, 
"Accompt of What I have Rec'd of y'" Estate of Elizabeth 

day mo. 
Woolman 17: i: 1746-7 

£ s d 

Cash And Goods as pr. Inventory 283 : 18 : 11 : 

Rec'd Joyntly p. me & Asher 

Dr. Craig is paid £3: 7: o, and "Negro Maria," who evidently 

s. d. 
nursed her, 18 9. Woolman charges himself for "Clerkship at 
Ye Appraisement, 6 sh." "To John Gill for Diging Grave 5 
shillings." "To my Time and Expense at proving Will &c., 4: 6." 
Ehzabeth Woolman left legacies to "Father and Mother and 
Hannah and Esther" and Rachel ; to her brother Abner and to 
her sisters. Patience Moore and Sarah Elton. Samuel and Han- 
nah Gauntt are named, and Hannah is paid £1 : 10 for a Walnut 
table, "which Patience had as a part of her legacy." John Wool- 
man himself has a legacy of twelve pounds, and "A pair of Gold 
Buttons, part of my Legacy." Page 2 is inscribed, "Affairs re- 
lating to the Estate of Elizabeth Woolman Junr. are all Setled, 

da mo. 
and discharges taken from all the Legatees. 26: 3: 1749." 

The family scribe was called upon, October 29, 1742, to write 
the will of his grandfather, Henry Burr, and he is himself one 
of the witnesses.^ The will was probated in 1743 and the negro 
woman, Mary, (Maria) is given a large allowance of goods by 

^ New Jersey Archives, Ser. I, XXX, p. yy. Samuel Woolman and Caleb Haines, 


her generous master. Henry Burr was a large landowner in 
Burlington County. His son Joseph (who in 1726 married Jane 
Abbott, a sister of Sarah [Ellisi] Woolman's mother) was the 
owijer of Dinah, whose marriage to William Boen in 1763 is 
elsewhere described. There is abundant evidence in all 
branches of John Woolman's family of their care for the negro 

About the time that his apprenticeship ended, John Woolman 
set out on his first independent preaching tour, with Isaac An- 
drews ^^ of Haddonfield as his companion. Starting in 3 mo. 
(May) 1746, they passed through Chester and Lancaster Coun- 
ties in Pennsylvania, and made their way into the sparsely set- 
tled portions of Virginia, reaching afterward the neighborhood 
of the wealthy planters. Knowing the mode of life among the 
rich southern gentlemen of the Colonial period, we do not wonder 
that John Woolman records his "exercise" among the older set- 
tlements as far more painful to him than among the poorer 
"back inhabitants." Things that in his simplicity he had never 
even dreamed of were revealed to him among the fox-hunting, 
hard-drinking gentry — church-going or otherwise — whose slaves 
labored that they might dwell in luxuiy. He was "uneasy" at 
being entertained by those who lived on the profits of slave-labor, 
and spoke to that effect to his hosts. Prophetically, he wrote of 
the slave-trade, "I saw in the Southern provinces so many vices 
and corruptions, increased by this trade and this mode of life, 
that it appeared to me as a dark gloominess hanging_over the 
land; and though now many willingly run into it, yet in future 
\. the consequences mil be grievous to posterity. I express it as it 
hath appeared to me, not once or twice but as a matter fixed in my 

They were gone six weeks. Woolman was twenty-six when 
this memorable visit to the south was made, and upon his return 
he wrote the essay, "Some Considerations upon the Keeping of 
Negroes." This was only read to his family, and for eight 
years it remained unpublished. The Virginia experience evi- 
dently brought home to him in its true bearings, and. with real 
conviction, the greater evils of slavery, and revived the abhor- 
rence of the institution which he had felt when called upon to 
write the bill of sale for the negro woman. He had protested at 


that time, and from now on he was dedicated to the cause of 
aboHtion. A momentary backward glance at what had been 
earher attempted will not here be amiss. 

Slavery, for commercial reasons, was disappearing from Great 
Britain in the middle of the eighteenth century, but it flourished 
greatly in other parts of England's dominions, and under the 
protection of the British flag. England had been a slave-owning 
power since Sir John Hawkins had interested Queen Elizabeth in 
the great profits of the trade; many followed her example, and 
the Treaty of Utrecht gave a fresh impulse. ^The Quakers from 
the beginning had been implicated as owners, and by many, 
perhaps most of them, the institution had not been regarded in 
its true light. The ancient Hebrew slave did not serve in heredi- 
tary bondage, but went free every fifty years, being treated in 
the interval much like his master's sons and daughters. A Roman 
slave who showed unusual talent was well educated and gen- 
erally set free, and some of the most illustrious poets, statesmen 
and warriors of Rome were freedmen. 

The African, on the contrary, was doomed to perpetual bond- 
age. The negro in America was the product of foreign impor- 
tation, combined with a most vicious system of domestic breeding, 
^ and was totally deprived by law in many portions of the colonies, 
of any literary, moral, or religious instruction. Soon after the 
settlement of Pennsylvania, slavery was introduced into the West 
Indies, and the Quakers were the more ready to condone it under 
the conditions of a scarcity of labor in the new province. The 
Indian was too wild to settle down to domestic service, as was at 
first fondly hoped, and the black, more tractable and adaptable 
physically, was substituted. 

The protests of "our dear friend and Governor, William 
Penn," against the institution, caused Philadelphia Monthly 
Meeting in 1700 to appoint a special meeting to be held at in- 
tervals for the negro slaves. Penn urged "that Friends be very 
careful in discharging a good conscience towards them in all 
respects, but more especially for the good of their souls." Two 
bills were introduced by him in the Assembly : one, "for regulat- 
ing negroes in their morals and marriages" ; the other, "for regu- 
lating negroes in their trials and punishment." The former was 
defeated. A later bill, "To prevent the Importation of Negroes 


and Indians into the Province," was passed by the Legislature, 
but immediately repealed in England by an Order in Council. 
Until the year 1770 almost every effort to ameliorate by law the 
condition of the negroes was frustrated in Parliament. The 
.Quakers were not often importers, but in many instances they 
were slave-owners on a large scale, although by the period at 
which Woolman wrote his tract, the practice was decreasing among 
them. Puritan Massachusetts had early raised her voice against 
the iniquity,'^ but most of the other Colonies saw too much profit 
in the trade to abolish it by any legal measure. 

Like voices crying in the wilderness, single protests at long 
intervals had been raised in the American colonies. The appeal 
of the Germantown Friends to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 
1688, the first corporate eiifort of Quakerism in this direction, is 
well known. George Keith followed in 1693, with his "Exhorta- 
tion and Caution to Friends concerning Buying and Keeping 
of Negroes, &c." In 1712 Nantucket meeting made a minute that 
"it is not agreeable to Truth for Friends to purchase slaves and 
keep them term of life." Five years later New England Friends 
recommended "that Merchants do write their Correspondents 
in y" Islands and elsewhere, to discourage their sending any 
more (negroes), in order to be sold by any friends here." ^ Phil- 
adelphia Friends thought differently, for at the same time, in 
1717, one of their meetings^ made a record condemning "the 
paper by John Farmar directed to this Meeting against Slave- 
holding, the Casting of Lotts, &c." He was dealt with "for dis- 
orderly practices in sending and Publishing papers tending to 

* In 1645 Massachusetts prohibited buying or selling slaves except when prisoners 
of war, or when sentenced by a Court. Even here the "Law of Moses" was enjoined. 
In 17 13 a heavy duty was imposed. In studying the attitude of the Quakers toward 
the slave question, it is interesting to note that there was a time when the Quakers 
themselves had been slaves on the coast of Africa. In common with all prisoners 
taken in the seventeenth century by the Algerine pirates, certain Quakers were for 
years held in slavery in the Barbary States. In 1679 the London Meeting took action 
for relief. (Sam'l Tuke, 1S48. "Account of the Slavery of Friends in the Barbary 
States, towards the Close of the 17th Century.") 

"MS. Records of N. E. Y. M. 4mo. 14, 1717, Vol. I, pp. 97, 98, 188. This action 
was referred to in 1744, when New England, at the instance of Philadelphia, asked 
all the subordinate meetings to discourage "buying slaves, even when imported." 

"Quarterly Meeting of Phila. for 3mo. 12, 1717. The original paper, signed by 
Sam'l Preston, Clerk, is in the Monthly Meeting papers of Burlington, N. J., at 
Friends' Library, Phila. 


William Burling's "Address to the Elders of the Church" 
came out in 1719, and was probably in response to the agitation 
caused by the unwise methods used in a good cause by John 
Farmar and William Sotheby. In 1729 Ralph Sandiford's "Mys- 
tery of Iniquity, in a Brief Examination of the Practice of the 
Times," preceded "The Testimony against the Anti-Christian 
Practice of Making Slaves of Men," published by Elihu Coleman 
in Nantucket in 1733.^ Benjamin Lay's "Treatise on Slave-Keep- 
ing" appeared in 1737, containing also a republication of part of 
Burling's tract. A very great influence was exerted by George 
Whitefield in 1739, who addressed a letter from Georgia to "the 
inhabitants of Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina" on the 
cruelties practiced by many slave-owners.'^ 

In the colony of Virginia it was long against the law to manu- 
mit a slave. Friends found it difficult to free them, and vainly 
endeavored to get the law repealed. Far from the supply of 
slaves being exhausted or limited in South Carolina, when that 
colony in 1756, proposed to curtail the number imported, the 
British government forced her to remit the duty on imported 
negroes, "lest the legitimate business of English merchants and 
shippers be interfered with !" ^ 

The importance of the Essay which had been written by John 
Woolman upon this vital subject was duly appreciated by his 
father. When Samuel Woolman ^^ lay upon his death-bed, in the 
summer of 1750, he urged his son to submit the manuscript to the 
publication committee of the Friends that it might be printed. 
His advice was eventually taken, but four more years elapsed be- 
fore the essay appeared in 1754. In that year also the Yearly 
Meeting of Philadelphia, held at Burlington, published "An 
Epistle of Caution and Advice concerning the Buying and Keep- 
ing of Slaves." A rare copy of this little known epistle still 

^ Coleman's original manuscript is now in possession of the Nantucket Hist. Soc. 
It is dated "29th of ye I imo. 1729-30." The first printed copy bears the above date 

of 1733- 

' Given entire in Clarkson's "History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade," Vol. I 
p. 149. Dr. Birkbeck Hill draws attention to Dr. Johnson's hatred of slavery, and 
says "Whilst the Quakers were almost the pioneers in the anti-slavery cause, he lifted 
up his voice against it. So early as 1740, when Washington was but a child of eight, 
he had maintained "the natural right of the negro to liberty and independence." 
(Boswell's Johnson, II. 478.) Works of Dr. Johnson, Ed. by Birkbeck Hill. VI. 

P\ 313-) 

■ Mrs. St. Julien Ravcnel: "Charleston: the Place and the People," p. 145. 


exists/ The author is either John Woolman, or Anthony Ben- 
ezet.* It is quoted entire in Clarkson's "History of the AboUtion 
of the Slave Trade." ^ 

In these days, when, happily, slavery is a dead issue, it is hard 
to appreciate the grave importance which attached to the appear- 
/ance of Woolman's pamphlet. People of any standing who did 
not own slaves were an exception, and at the largest import mar- 
kets, as Philadelphia, New York and Newport, Quakers were 
prominent merchants. New Jersey was a large slave-holding 
colony in Woolman's day, and the slave-market was standing in 
Perth Amboy half a century after his death. At Kaighn's Point, 
or Cooper's Ferry, where is now Camden, New Jersey, sales were 
regularly advertised in the newspapers. Thus, for instance, the 
"Pennsylvania Journal" for May 27, 1762, is typical of the 
entire period : "Just imported from the River Gambia in the 
Schooner Sally, Bernard Badger, Master, and to be sold at the 
Upper Ferry (called Benjamin Cooper's Ferry), opposite to 
this City, a parcel of likely Men and Women Slaves, with some 
Boys and Girls of different Ages. Attendance will be given 
from the hours of nine to twelve o'clock in the Morning, and 
from three to six in the Afternoon, by W. Coxe, S. Oldman, & 
Company. N.B. It is generally allowed that the Gambia Slaves 
are much more robust and tractable than any other slaves from 
the Coast of Guinea, and more Capable of undergoing the Sever- 
ity of the Winter Seasons in the North-American Colonies, which 
occasions their being Vastly more esteemed and coveted in this 
Province and those to the Northward, than any other Slaves 
whatsoever." "A parcel of Choice, likely Young Slaves" was 
sold off at the same place three months later. 

Anthony Benezet * wrote, in 1762,^ "Those Negroes that were 
brought last year up the River and sold on the Jersey Shore 
opposite this City (Philadelphia) were probably of the Fully 
(Full) Nation, as the vessel came from the River Senegal." 

* In the AthenKum Library, Nantucket, Mass. 

'Vol. I, p. 113. The New Jersey Assembly in 1769 enacted a law imposing a duty 
of £15 on every imported slave in the Province. {Allinson's Laws, p. 315.) 

' A. Benezet. "Short Account of that Part of Africa Inhabited by the Negroes." 
p. 75 note. Ed. 1762. A conservative estimate places the number of slaves brought 
from Africa between 1676 and 1776 at three million, and a quarter of a million more 
died on the way across the Atlantic. (J. P. Wickersham, "Education in Pennsylvania," 
p. 248.) 


At this very time, however, even George Whitefiekl dared 
not maintain that in the South slavery was not a necessity. For 
' tlie youthful Quaker, therefore, boldly to attempt to persuade the 
prominent legislators and merchants of his day that slavery was 
not only wrong in principle, but was an economic mistake as 
3'ell, demandetLgrea^ courage. Yet when Woolman made his 
first southern tour in 1746, the injustice and cruelty inflicted on 
the negroes were, as a rule, less than in later years, when the 
planters of the South perceived the growth of the Abolition senti- 
ment. A patriarchal system of protection was the rule on many 
plantations, although combined with negligent methods and much 
economic waste. An important fact in this connection has been 
pointed out by an eminent writer '^ in a recent volume contain- 
ing a fine appreciation of Woolman. "^The Anti-slavery movement 
was begun and fairly under way before the great industrial revolu- 
tion was fully developed. Had modern inventions and slave 
trusts been combined in one great system of industry and manu- 
facture, what power could ever have reformed the evil ? What 
would have happened to the world had Woolman withheld his 
voice, and choked the utterance of his first feelings of repulsion at 
finding his fellowmen in bondage? 

Between the writing and the publication of this essay. Wool- 
man made five tours through the region about New York and 
Long Island, and to New England as far as Nantucket, with the 
plea for the negro as his chief message. Moreover, the year in 
which he wrote his essay, 1746, saw the importation of slaves into 
New York reach its climax, with a total of eight thousand nine 
hundred and forty-one souls." Woolman was now in the prime of 
early manhood and devoting himself to the work to which he felt 
called. In this interval also came his settlement in business, and 
his marriage. 

In preparation for this Woolman in 1747 made two purchases 
of property. On April 4th, he bought of John Ogborn a brick 
house and lot of land on Mill street, Mount Holly. This house 
is still standing, numbered 47. Its appearance was greatly altered 

'George Macaulay Trevelyan. "Clio, and Other Essays": on "John Woohnan." 
''In contrast, as this was written, a Pan-African Congress was called to meet in 
Paris "with the declared purpose of securing the protection of the natives of Africa 
and the people of African descent in other countries," including Central America, 
Liberia, and Abyssinia, with the representation of a negro population of 157,000,000. 


and modernized by its purchaser of 1795, Samuel Lewis, the 
architect, who was hving in it when he built the Court House. The 
dormer windows which he added closely resemble those of the 
Georgian period which adorn that handsome building, and the 
doorway has been remodeled. Traces of the earlier simplicity, 
however, are visible at the back of the house, and in the windows 
not on the street, and the old walls bear witness to their sub- 
stantial character. Stucco over the exterior and over the extended 
base beneath the front windows, has taken away the last touch of 
antiquity which the building still reveals only to the careful scru- 
tiny of the antiquarian. 

It has long been the desire of historians, local and other, to 
discover John Woolman's shop, but only now has the search been 
successful. In the recent settlement of an estate the deeds for 
this property have come to light, and references in the Larger 
Account Book go to confirm these. The circumstances point to 
John Ogborn as possibly John Woolman's "employer," but he 
never names him, and there is, as yet, no positive proof. Behind 
this house stood the "Little Meeting House" to which access was 
had from Mill street through "Meeting House Alley," which is 
described in the original deed as on John Woolman's line. The 
meeting house is referred to in several old deeds owned by Bur- 
lington Monthly Meeting, but for years its exact site has been 
forgotten. The building was used as a school house, and there 
is little doubt that this was also the scene of John Woolman's 
labors as teacher. 

This location was at the time in the centre of trade in the 
little town, nearly opposite the mills of Josiah White,^' the enter- 
prising Quaker merchant who came from Salem in 1730, and as 
preacher and manufacturer, gave a double impetus, commercially 
and morally, to the town. The shop also adjoined the Three Tuns 
tavern, owned and kept by Daniel Jones, ^ the brother of Wool- 
man's friend, Rebecca Jones, of Philadelphia. Daniel Jones was 
not a Quaker. The inevitable result of prompt and honest deal- 
ing followed, and Woolman's trade so prospered that he feared 
he might eventually grow rich ! He therefore began to reduce the 
volume of his business, disliking to feel himself involved in too 

'Daniel Jones (1730- ). He remained an Episcopalian, and was a, warden o£ 
St. Andrew's Church, Mt. Holly. 


much "cumber." May i6th, 1753, he sold the Mill street property 
to his mother, Elizabeth Woolman, and it is not at all unlikely 
that for a few years before her death, in 1772, she and her un- 
married daughter, Rachel, may have lived in the Mill street house 
together, as her son Asher had a large and growing family. 

John Woolman wrote his mother's will "the nth of 2mo. in 
the year 1772," not long before he left for England, when she 
was too feeble to do more than make her trembling mark. In 
her will she leaves her "brick house in Mount Holly with the 
framed shop, and all the lot to them belonging," to her daughter 
Rachel, who held the property for twenty-three years and sold it 
March 22d. 1795, three years before her death, to Samuel Lewis. 
The "framed shop" at the side adjoining the house was bought 
by Josiah White ^' and moved off the premises. Rachel Wool- 
man let out the house, or a part of it, to tenants, and the Penn- 
sylvania Gazette for September 25th, 1776, contains the follow- 
ing advertisement: 

"Mount Holly, September 23, 1776. 
John Shields 
has opened a new store at the Upper end of Mount Holly (in the 
house where the late Mr. John Woolman lived) where he proposes 
to keep a neat Assortment of Dry and Wet Goods, suitable to that 
Part of the Country, whose Custom he hopes to obtain by the 
Moderation of his Prices." 

John Shields does not appear to have owned the property in 
the town for his shop, and while the family name is known, his 
own identity is not established. 

The second purchase of property made by John Woolman was 
on May 20th, 1747, when he bought of Peter Andrews," his 
neighbor and intimate friend, eleven acres\of land which had 
originally formed part of the great tract whicli John Haddon of 
London had taken up as a Proprietary of West Jersey, and which 
was inherited by his daughter, Elizabeth Hadd^,'" afterwards 
Estaugh, the founder of Haddonfield. She had ^old to Peter 
Andrews " this small portion only the year before. The purchase 
price was twenty-five pounds, "proclamation money." ^ 

There are not many young men of twenty-seven in John Wool- 

> The original 4eeiJ is in possession of the Editor. 


man's position in life who are possessed of sufficient means to 
acquire two such pieces of property, even with the prices of the 
colonial period. This circumstance is in itself enough to refute 
the charges of extreme poverty which have been made. To this 
farm, which was increased to nearly two hundred acres by the 
time it was sold in 1 791 by John and Mary Comfort, John Wool- 
man appears to have retired at some period between 1753 and 
1760, and he continued at his home to manage the farm and 
orchard, at the same time that he pursued his tailoring, for the 
Account Book shows that he was making leather breeches for 
his customers within a few weeks of his departure for England. 



Early marriages were universal in this period of colonial life, 
since a farming community can easily support itself upon pro- 
ductive land like that in West Jersey. But Woolman's tastes were 
inclined toward a less laborious means of living, as he tells us 
himself, and he was besides of a slight and rather frail build. 
Hence he was twenty-nine years old before he married, and had 
for six years been a recognized preacher. Settling down to his 
home life, with his tailoring and conveyancing, his legal duties as 
occasion called him to draw the will of a dying neighbor, or to 
lay out the property of an heir or new-comer, John Woolman 
began what was a happy married life, interrupted only by the 
absences which took him long distances from home, in pursuance 
of his duties, and at his Master's call. 

Of the wife of John Woolman singularly little is known. The 
family memoranda of her son-in-law, John Comfort,^* give us 
the dates of her birth and death. She is sometimes named on 
her meeting's committees, and she served as the first Treasurer 
of the Woman's Meeting, when the Monthly Meeting of Mount 
Holly was separated from that of Burlington in 1775, after her 
husband's death. A few letters remain to or about her, but none 
of her own to her husband. A word or two stating the bare fact 
is all that his Journal tells us of his marriage. "The Lord," says 
Woolman, "gave me a well inclined damsel named Sarah 
Ellis," ^^ and this is all that he records. They were married at 
Chesterfield, New Jersey, 8mo. (October) 18, 1749, when he 
was twenty-nine and she a year younger. Their marriage cer- 
tificate is well written on parchment, but the name is very curi- 
ously spelled throughout, "W oilman." ^ 

^ See Appendix, original in Woohnan Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 



Sarah Ellis was the daughter of Benjamin Ellis and Mary 
Abbott, who were married at Chesterfield, N. J., Qmo. (Novem- 
ber) 2.2, 1720. Her father was the son of Josiah Ellis, of Wood- 
enbury, Chester, England. Josiah Ellis married for his third wife, 
7mo. (September) 16, 1697, Mary, the daughter of William 
Adams, of Monmouth, and widow of Thomas Wilcox, gold- 
smith, of the Savoy, whom she had married at Westminster meet- 
ing, 9mo. (November) 22, 1680. Josiah Ellis had many children 
and grandchildren, all of his wives having left descendants. Ben- 
jamin and his twin sister Mary, eldest children by the third wife, 
were born 8mo. (October) 16, 1698, in the Savoy. 

Upon attaining his majority Benjamin Ellis came to America. 
The first record of him is his certificate to Great Britain jrom 
Chesterfield, N. J., dated 6mo. (August) 6, 1719. He brings 
one from Hammersmith, Middlesex, London, to Philadelphia, 
dated "29 of 2mo. (April) 1720," and the latter monthly meet- 
ing, 7mo. 30 (September) appoints Anthony Morris and 
Thomas Griffith to prepare another directed to Chesterfield, N. J., 
"touching his clearness in relation to marriage." At that meet- 
ing, 9mo. (November) 24, 1720, he married Mary, daughter of 
John and Ann (Mauleverer) Abbott. '^ They went to Phila- 
delphia to live, and Mary Ellis's certificate of removal to that place 
is dated on the records, "y^ 2nd. of y^ 12th mo. (February) 
1720." There had been Ellises in Burlington County from the 
time of William Penn, but they do not appear to be of this family. 
A George Ellis of Higham, in Derbyshire, sold some land in 
West Jersey in 1682.' 

The day before the birth of their only child, Sarah, Benjamin 
Ellis requested another certificate to London, "he intending there 
on business." The minute is dated, "6mo. (August) 25, 1721." 
The death of Josiah Ellis does not appear on the London records, 
but this may have been the cause of his son's departure so soon 
after his arrival and marriage. This is the last evidence of any 
kind that has been found respecting Benjamin Ellis, and the 
presumption is that he died, or was lost at sea. There is no clue 
to the circumstances which had brought together this pair; there 

' Andrew Bradford is a witness from Philadelphia. 

' N. J. Archives, XXI, 429. For facts of Benjamin Ellis' ancestry, the Editor is 
indebted to Gilbert Cope. 


may have been family connections or acquaintance in the earher 
generation in England. In a new country courtships were brief, 
and between the summer of 1720 and the autumn of 1721 Benja- 
min Ellis had arrived in West Jersey, married, had a child, and 
departed, with only the record of dates to imply any tragedy com- 
pressed into so brief a period. 

Sarah, only child of Benjamin and Mary Ellis, was born 
6mo. (August) 26, 1721, in Philadelphia. She was but two 
years old when her mother returned to Chesterfield to live with, 
or near, her parents; the certificate of removal is dated iimo. 
(January) 17, 1723-4. When Sarah was nine years old her mother 
married again, at Chesterfield, George Williams, Senior (1685- 
1744), a well-known and highly esteemed resident of Shrewsbury, 
East Jersey, Qmo (November) 12, 1730, as his second wife.^ His 
first wife had been Joanna Wills (1688-1728) whom he had mar- 
ried iimo. (January) 1708-9. She died "circumspect in be- 
havior" and a minister, 2mo. (April) ist, 1728,^ leaving him with 
seven children. Mary Ellis Williams "desesed her life" at Shrews- 
bury, "y® 6 of 2mo. (April) 1739." George Williams also 
"desesed his hfe y^ 15 of imo. (March) 1744."^ The Friends 
said of Mary that "she was well-beloved by her husband's chil- 
dren, and upon her death left a sweet savour behind her." ■* Her 
constitution was frail ; she was a minister for some years. Two 
of her step-sons married two of her younger sisters. 

There are evidences that if Sarah Ellis was not brought up 
by her grandparents, John and Ann Abbott, she at least spent 
much of her time with them. Chesterfield records give the birth 
date of her grandmother as 2mo. (April) 28, 1678. Ann Abbott 
was the daughter of Edmund and Ann Mauleverer, of West 
Aytoun Manor, an ancient family of Yorkshire, tracing their 
descent directly back to the Sureties of the Magna Charta.'' It 
is interesting to discover that Robert and Alice (Markenfield) 

^ N. J. Archives, XXX, 212. G. W. is described as "a lover of God and man. He 
kept open house and entertained his friends with cheerfulness" — an elder many years. 

2 "The Friend" (Philadelphia), Vol. XXIX, p. 252. 

' Shrewsbury M. M. Records. Book II. Marriages, Births, and Deaths. Geo. 
Williams was the third child of the four sons and five daughters of John and Mary 
Williams. John died in 17 19. His inventory shows him to have had a comfortable 
estate. It names the family Bible. N. J. Archives, ist Ser., XXIII, p. 510. 

' "The Friend" (Philadelphia), Vol. XXIX, p. 252. 

" Charles R. Browning. "Sureties o£ the Magna Charta." 


Mauleverer, of Wothersome, Yorkshire, were ancestors of both 
Ann Mauleverer Abbott and of Richard SaUonstall, (1610- 
1694), later of Ipswich, Massachusetts, Deputy and Assistant, 
whose wife was Muriel Gurdon, and whose fame has come down 
to us in the Puritan Records. Ann Mauleverer was born in 1678, 
at Scarborough, Yorkshire, where her father died, and her mother 
married again, 7mo. (September) 1681, Matthew Watson, 
chemist, of the same place. The following year, 1682, the family 
joined the great migration under William Penn to West Jersey, 
where Matthew Watson became a prominent figure. His step- 
daughter, Ann Mauleverer, (1678-1754) was married at his 
house at Chesterfield, 3mo. (May) 26, 1696,^ to John Abbott 
(1660-1739), who had removed from Farnfield, Nottinghamshire, 
in 1684. He died 8mo. (October) 16, 1739, leaving her with ten 
children. Her death occurred 2mo. (April) 10, 1754. 

Much of the nineteen years between her mother's second 
marriage and removal to Shrewsbury, and her own marriage, was 
spent by Sarah Ellis with her grandparents at' Chesterfield, where 
she could not have failed to meet John Woolman. His choice is 
evidence of the purity of her character, but we know nothing of 
her at this time of her life. They were married in Chesterfield, 
8mo. (October) 18, 1749; their certificate is yet in beautiful 
preservation. On the same day that John and Sarah Woolman 
had gone over to Burlington Monthly Meeting to "pass," as the 
declaration of their intentions before the meeting was called, 
for the second time, i.e., 7mo. (September) 4th.- John's sister, 
Hannah Woolman and Samuel Gauntt also went through the 
same ceremony in the same meeting. 

Letters to his wife show Woolman's solicitude for her com- 
fort, and we gather that Sarah Woolman was never in very 
robust health. She led a quiet life, and her husband lived up to 
his advice on the question of labor, by seeing to it that she had 
,a competent person to assist her in the household tasks. After 
the death of her husband she was for a time prostrated, but when 
the separate Monthly Meeting at Mount Holly was established she 

^ N. J. Archives, XXII, p. 650. 

2 Burlington M. M. Records. Vol. II, p. 182. Same Vol., p. 185, under date "6 
day of g mo. 1749" — "The Friends appointed to attend the marriages of Samuel 
Gauntt and Hannah Woolman and of John Woolman and Sarah Ellis report them 
orderly performed." 


became, as has been noted, the first Treasurer of the Women's 
Meeting, in 1776. Her name occurs on committees and she ap- 
pears to have taken part in the affairs of the Society. She sur- 
,vived her husband for fifteen years and died at Mount Holly, 
3mo. 18, 1787/ She is buried beside two of her grandchildren in 
the Friends' graveyard at the "new" meeting house (built 1775) 
in lot number twelve, not far from the iron railing on Garden 
Street; the Friends' Historical Society of Philadelphia has re- 
cently erected a granite marker. 

The following letter has come to light among the corre- 
spondence of the Morris and Smith families.^ It is the only 
letter in Sarah Woolman's handwriting yet found, and all the 
persons named by her were members of her own Monthly Meet- 
ing, and her intimate friends. She had known "Johny," as his 
family called him, since his birth, and took alarm when she found 
the boy was to be placed where he might feel "worldly ambitions." 
He was the son of John Smith, '^^ her husband's friend, and Han- 
nah Logan. John Smith, 2nd, was born in 1761 and was there- 
fore fifteen years old when this letter was written. His father 
had died in 1771 at the early age of 48, and his mother at his 
birth. The care of their four orphan children devolved upon the 
uncles, and it is to Samuel Smith,^* the historian of New Jersey, 
and William Logan," son of James, that Sarah Woolman refers 
in the letter, which is unfortunately without superscription. John 
Smith II, married, 1784, GuHelma Maria (1766-1826), daughter 
of WilHam and Margaret (Hill) Morris of Burlington, New 
Jersey, and his death, of pulmonary disease, took place in 
1803, at the age of forty-two. He was never robust, and his 
life was chiefly spent upon his farm at "Green Hill," three miles 
from Burlington, where Samuel Jenings had once lived. John 
Morris, the brother of his wife, had been a promising young 
physician, who was one of the many yellow fever victims of the 
awful summer of 1793 in Philadelphia. Sarah Woolman's fears 
that his prominent social connections, or his ambitions, if educated 
to the medical profession, might lead the youthful John astray, 

1 Inside front cover of Larger Account Book John Comfort has written, "Mother 
Woolman departed this life, i8 day 3 mo. 1787." 

2 The Gulielma M. Howland Collection. In Library of Haverford College. 
" See Biog. Note 59. 


were groundless. He chose to devote his time to the cultiva- 
tion of a highly productive farm, thus following the calling 
that John Woolman had declared led to the best contentment in 

[Endorsement] [Mount Holly in 1=" mo : 1776.] 
Dear friend 

a Concern hath rested on my mind in behalf of John Smith Re- 
membring what Inocence his Dear Creator Bestowed upon him and 
what a Lamentable Case it should be lost or mar* for want timely 
Care or Chasing a trade may be most for his Spiritual advantage 
rather than worldly profit may his friends and near Relations dwell 
Deep in their mind before him whose dwelling is on high may you 
seek to be directed by best wisdom in so waty a matter and have a 
watchfuU Care over this Beloved youth for his Incouragement in 
ye Blessed way now hath my mind been united In near Love & 
Simpathy in Behalf of this Dear Child and his wellfare this Inocence 
may not be Lost [for] want of ScilfuU management I Remember 
Several years past a friend Said in my hearing if he lived to be old 
anuf was Intended to bee a doctor or a lawyer it Gave me a whome 
Stroke and Sorrow fileth my mind lest it may not prove for his Ever- 
lasting advantage aspiring after greatness for alass what is this 
world and ye pleasures here below when Compared with Eternity 
Choosing that which may keep his mind most free from Entangle- 
ments of any kind and this youth be Instructed in the paths of virty 
and have time to read Good Books and Seek after Humility of hart 
and find acquaintance & acceptance with his Creator the Humble he 
will teach of his ways and the Meek guide in Judgment which is 
more to be valued than all ye pleasures this world Can afford which 
is very aluring to youth I would Just Expres those hints that I may 
be Clear for you know I am a poor Cretor and have had a humbling 
Season and believe these remarks Simple but looking toward the 
winding up of time hear below and that I may not feel anguish of 
mind if things Should not Succeed well hereafter and I Could not 
well be Silent Except I rite Something [of] this kind now if he 
Should Chuse to be a farmer and you Could find a Honnest man 
would it not be best and his mind more at Liberty and Serean in 
meditation on divinity & ye Divine being and may he rule whose rite 
it is and worthy to have room in our harts I was Informed by a 
young man Going to rawway John Smith' [s] 2 unkels Samuel S[mith] 
& William Login Intended he Should be a docter and the youth rather 
chose be a farmer young man said was Sorry he Should be a doctor 
& pityed him to this purpose it caused a fresh Concern in my mind 


and now dear friend if thou Enquire and if there be not a Cause 
then rather this was Conceled I hope thou may alow for weakness 
and a Stammering [tongue]. 

farewell S[arah] W[oolman] 
rather this had a bee comprised in few words 

^ The only child of John and Sarah Woolman who survived 
to maturity was Mary,^* born, according to her father's memo- 
randum, "loth mo. 1750." The record of the meeting reads, 
"10 mo. (December) i8th." The birth of a son, William, is re- 
corded in the meeting minutes and in a collateral family genealogy, 
on 7 mo. 21, 1754. This child died 9 mo. 30, 1754, at the age of 
two months.^ There is always a message for Mary in the father's 
letters wlien he was away on his long tours about the country, 
but we have no other reference to her childhood, or to the tender 
care certainly bestowed upon her by such parents. She was mar- 
ried at the age of twenty-one, 3rd of 4th mo. 1771, to John Com- 
fort^* (1754-1803), of Fallsington, Pa., son of Stephen Com- 
fort ^* of the same place. Their marriage certificate is beau- 
tifully written in the clear, legal hand of her father.^ 

John Woolman built for his daughter the brick house now 
known as the "Woolman Memorial," at 99 Branch Street, Mount 
Holly, for which the bills and specifications are fully given in 
his Larger Account Book." It was but just completed when he 
sailed for England, and Mary's first child John was born about 
six weeks after, so that John Woolman never saw a grandchild 
of his own. Of these, however, he had ten, all of them children 
of John and Mary Comfort. Two of these who died in infancy 
are buried as we have seen, in the Friends' graveyard in Mount 
Holly beside their grandmother.*' After her death, John Com- 
fort (whose father, Stephen Comfort, died but two months af- 
ter John Woolman) removed, probably for business reasons, to 
his former home at Fallsington, where the second daughter was 
born, and died in a few weeks. Mary was the only other daugh- 
ter. The six sons who grew up all married and left families, 

' Burial Records. (Mount Holly) Burlington M. M. 

' The parents' names are not given, as was usual. 

^ See Appendix. 

"These children were: i. Jeremiah, d. 1778, aged 8 mos. 2. William, d. 1786, 

aged 6 yrs. 



so that John Woolman has today many direct descendants, but 
none of the name of Woolman.^ 

Mary Woolman Comfort died of the scourge of smallpox, 
which carried away so many of her relatives, leaving her large 
family with the only daughter but seven years old and the young- 
est boy aged three. Her husband enters on the index leaf of the 
Larger Account Book, "My Beloved Wife Departed this hfe 

da mo 
with the Small pox ye 6: 4: 1797, about 12 o'clock at 
Night, Aged 46 and a half lacking 12 days." He married a 
second time, at the "Falls" Meeting House, 11 mo. 4, 1798, 
Ann, daughter of Isaac and Rebecca English of Middletown.^ 
There is a memorandum in the Larger Account Book, by John 

da mo. 
Comfort, — "8 6 1794 — Ann Enghsh came here." Her account 
is balanced and settled on the 28th of lomo. 1796. 
She had evidently been assisting in the care of the large family in 
some domestic capacity, and was probably the natural person 
to resume the charge of his motherless children. One of these 
has entered in this same book, so full of the vital interests of 
this family, "Our endeared Father, John Comfort,^* departed this 
Life I day of 7mo. 1803, about 4 o'clock in the Morning." He 
was born 8mo. (October) 5, 1745, and was therefore fifty-eight 
years old. He left no will ; letters of administration were granted 
by William Hart to his sons, John and Samuel, dated "26 July, 
1803," at "The Falls." 

The house in which John Woolman spent most of his mar- 
ried life stood upon the Old Springfield Road, now Branch Street, 
originally "The King's Highway," on which the early settlers 
journeyed from New York to Philadelphia, and to Gloucester. 
This is confirmed by mention in old deeds of the great oak tree, 
on the "York Road." This ancient tree, now standing at the 
corner of Garden and Branch Streets, is the oldest corner named 
in the local deeds of Mount Holly. It was known as "Cripp's 
Oak" ^ and Indian treaties doubtless took place under its ample 
shade. It is carefully guarded by the town. When Garden 

* See Biog. Note, 24, for the family of John and Mary Comfort. 
^ Fallsington Marriage Record. Book B, 138. There are 25 witnesses. 
^ John Cripps was the original owner of the land on which now stands Mount 

-:<i*i ""- 


5 ^Ki 














J" - 












^fl^^li^tJ ifPI^^^?^ ^"^^^^^ 

^ ° a: 
-"I = 

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street was laid out in 1775, with John Woolman's brother Jonah 
as a Commissioner, its description was given in one of the old 
"Road Books" now in the Court House. It was opened from 
"the Burlington Road" to the "bars of John Comfort's apple 
orchard." The "Burlington Road" has now become Main, or 
High, street, and the old tree must have stood in Woolman's time 
at his orchard bars. 

The house is probably represented with reasonable accuracy 
in the photograph here given of a sepia drawing in the Historical 
Society of Pennsylvania.^ It stood not far from the present 
Woolman Memorial, and was built of wood, remaining until 
1858 in its original location, when Leander J. Budd, its then 
owner, removed it to form the front of a stable, after building 
the house near by, now owned and occupied (1922) by Herbert 
L. Crippen. The portion which formed the dwelling is still 
distinguishable from the rest by the cornice which runs about 
the eaves, and the filled-up blanks in the openings for the up- 
per windows. Within can be traced the marks of the staircase, 
and the bricks still surround the ancient fire-place, whose early 
workmanship was known as "brick-pane." The house was 
bought in 185 1 by Leander J. Budd, of Reuben Forker who had 
previously owned and occupied it. Reuben Forker was a son of 
the Adam Forker who did the glazing in the brick house ad- 
joining, now the "Memorial," - and who was the first tavern keeper 
in Mount Holly. The Forkers were a Huguenot family whose 
several brothers fled from France to Ireland after the Revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes, and soon removed to America. The name 
was originally Farquhar, or Fauquier,' and the Virginia branch 
had the good taste not to alter the spelling of the name. Descen- 
dants of the Forkers are still living.* 

' Collection of Samuel Parrish. Scrap Book, entitled "Quakers and Indians," 
The same view is crudely illustrated in James Bowden's "History of Friends in 
America." Vol. 11, p. 393- 

^ See Appendix, "Cost of building a Brick House." 

^ The Minutes of Phila. "Mtg. for Sufferings" in 1760 mention William Farquhar, 
of Virginia. 

* The authority for the Editor's statements as to the removal of this house comes 
from Miss Mary W. Budd, daughter of Leander J. Budd, who lived in it while her 
father was building the new house. She perfectly recalls seeing it moved and altered 
into the stable, in 1858. There is at present no proof that the brick house occupying 
a slight elevation on the old Springfield Road, nearer the stream (lately occupied by 
G. W. Moore) was John Woolman's residence, although it stood on his farm and was 
sold by John Comfort to Samuel Stockton in 1791. If the frame house was once 


The line of the public road which passed Woolman's house 
was altered between the date of his purchase in 1747 and 
the year 1760, when he sold the original eleven acres of land from 
the rest of his farm to Benajah, son of Peter Andrews/' who 
had died in 1756. This gives a slightly different angle to 
the road, in the illustration of the house, as shown. He evidently 
had a "noon mark" upon his floor, and an undated memorandum 
shows his calculations for drawing "hour lines," which we may 
be sure he placed for his neighbors as well. 

Lat. 40 

'11 and 1 9 

10 and 2 20' 

9 & 3 32' 

8 & 4 48' 

7 & 5 67' 

6 90 


"A Course directed to the Sun at Noon would be I believe about 
S. 4. W."i 

4 Woolman's orchard was his great delight and recreation, and 
his book shows sales and purchases of apple trees, and the care 
with which he grafted and trimmed his stock. 

John Candler, an English Friend who traveled through the 
United States in 1841, visited what was Supposed to be the house 
of John Woolman, on May 31st of that year, while he was the 
guest of John Cox at Oxmead, near Burlington. He thus de- 
scribes the house at that time : "The habitation of John Wool- 
man was a small farm house with two low rooms on the ground 
floor, standing in the midst of a green paddock or pasture, close 
by the roadside, about a mile from Mount Holly. ^ At the time 
of our visit it was undergoing repair, and from the alterations 
and additions about to be made to it, was likely to lose much of 
its primitive character. We could not survey the spot without 
some emotion. Here lived one who, with affections strongly 

attached to its ancient Icitchcn. tlie front and rear portions were of different materials, 
as was often the case, and they were separated when the brick house was enlarged 
and improved. This is possible. 

' Larger Account Book, p. i. 

* The house was about three-quarters of a mile from the whipping post and stocks, 
which stood on the square in the center of the town, lately occupied by a fountain. 


linked to his species, for duty's sake forsook the busy scenes of 
life, shunning all its encumbering cares, in order that by so do- 
ing, he might the more effectually promote the welfare of society 
at large and serve God in his generation. Contented with lit- 
tle, he lived a life of moderate toil and profitable meditation." ^ 

John Candler was traveling companion to the distinguished 
English Quaker preacher and famous abolitionist, Joseph Sturge, 
who was also present on this occasion, and both they and their 
host were under the impression that this was the house of John 
Woolman himself. Later, however, John Cox wrote Joseph 
Sturge that having learned that the house which they visited was 
built, but not dwelt in, by Woolman, he had gone to see the only 
living man, then eighty years of age, who was Woolman's con- 
temporary in Mount Holly, and who had known him well. "He 
informed me," writes John Cox, "that John Woolman's daugh- 
ter and her husband resided in the house when her father em- 
barked for London, which was in the year 1772, as recorded in 
his Journal." ^ This was therefore the present Woolman Me- 
morial. It stood not far from her father's house, on the adjoin- 
ing property. The alterations to which the English visitor re- 
ferred were doubtless the addition of a frame back building with 
the closing up of the great open fireplace and plastering of the 
ceilings, which were again done away with when the Memorial 
was restored in 191 5 to its original condition by the Association 
which is now the owner. 

The year after he purchased his little farm, John Woolman 
drew up the Trust Deed for the lot on which was built the old 
meeting house on Wood Lane in Mount Holly. This was given to 
the Friends "in consideration of £5., Proclamation Money," by 
Samuel Cripps in 1748. Woolman was a Trustee, and his Deed 
and the Declaration of Trust are elaborate documents, entirely 
in his own handwriting. 

In 1752 (Smo. 23) John Woolman was made Clerk of Bur- 

. lington Quarterly Meeting of Ministers and Elders, succeeding 

Richard Smith Jr., who died in that year. The books of that 

meeting are kept in his clear and scholarly hand for the next 

seventeen years, ending "5th of 6mo. 1769." when failing health 

'Letter of John Candler. The British Friend. Vol. I. No. XII. Glasgow, 12 
mo. 30, 1843. 

2 Joseph Sturge. "A Visit to the United States in 1841, p. 62. 


and his prospect of travel to the West Indies united to cause 
his resignation. His reflections added to the page for 2mo. 22, 
1767, have been quoted elsewhere, and are extremely interesting. 
It is related that Woolman was present as Clerk when a discus- 
sion began for which he could not conscientiously make a min- 
ute. He therefore rose to leave the room, when a Friend re- 
marked, "The Clerk need not fly from the table." John Wool- 
man turned and quietly replied, "The Clerk hath no wings !" 

About this time Woolman was called upon to serve as executor 
for the estate of Thomas Shinn,''^ who, in making his will in 
1751, named him in that office with Henry Paxson.'^ Thomas 
Shinn was a Justice, and Assistant Judge of the Burlington Court 
of Common Pleas, and lived in "Bridgetown" for years, so that 
his choice of John Woolman for this responsible task was in it- 
self evidence of the latter's skill and ability. Thomas Shinn's 
house was for many years a headquarters of Quakerism. Thomas 
Chalkley, writing in his Journal in 9 mo. 1737, says, "Prom Bur- 
lington I went to Mount Holly. Had a large Meeting at the 
Meeting House and another in the evening at Mount Holly Town, 
at the house of Thomas Shinn." ^ His will was proved March 
loth, 1753.^ 

Another transaction at this time of Woolman's life has to 
do with a negro. On the back of an index leaf of the Larger 
Account Book stands the following memorandum : 

da. mo. 
"Negro James, bound 2 i 1754, to Serve 21 
years, that is till 2d. imo. 1775." 

James is the negro lad to whom John Woolman referred, when, 
in 1769, he felt reproached for the long term of service then im- 
posed." He states that some persons who could not conscien- 
tiously keep a negro as a slave for his entire term of life, com- 
promised by retaining their young negroes in service without 

^Thomas Chalkley. Journal, p. 300. 

^Office of Clerk of Burlington County, N. J. Book A. 2, Deeds, p. 151. Recorded 
15 July, 1754. Names Henry Paxson and John Woolman as Executors for Thomas 
Shinn. (See also Archives of N. J.) A collection of the Burlington Co. Common 
Pleas Court Papers [Histor. Soc. of Penna.] has a writ of Habeas Corpus for George 
Marple, for £5. 12. 9, owing the Estate of T. Shinn, signed by Paxson and Woolman 
as executors. Aug. 16, 1753. 

^ See Journal. 


wages until they attainjed the age of thirty years. If this 
nine year old boy had been so bound, Woolman felt that the 
term of service exceeded by nine years the period usual for white 
boys to serve their apprenticeship, which ended at twenty-one. 
As one of the two executors engaged in the transaction, John 
Woolman, therefore, freed negro James of half of the nine years 
overtime, by executing a bond to pay James' employer a proper 
sum for the last four and a half years of his service, provided 
this could be satisfactorily arranged either by Woolman or his 
executors. The employer's name does not appear. 

"In the management of my outward affairs, I may say with 
thankfulness, I found Truth to be my support." With such 
brief words as to his domestic life, would Woolman fain dismiss 
the subject. He had recently given up his "merchandizing," as he 
calls it, having set up a little shop of his own to sell buttons and 
trimmings in connection with his tailoring, y It promised to be so 
profitable, that the "cumber" involved by proper attention to 
trade tended to distract his contemplative mind. He therefore 
told all his customers of his intention to discard this branch of 
his business, that they might go elsewhere, and, as we have seen, 
-(sold the Mill street property to his mother and retired to his 
farm on the old Springfield road, having settled down to his 
farming and tailoring. He was a reader of Gilbert Latey and 
followed the example of that early Quaker tailor, of the days 
of Charles II, in thus declining a too profitable trade. In 1805 
Thomas Shillitoe, another Quaker tailor, gave up business alto- 
gether, inspired in part by the examples of Latey and Woolman. 
This humble calling brought Woolman contentment. He 
was "weaned," he says, "from the desire for outward greatness, 
and learned to be content with real convenFences that were not 
costly, so that a way of life free from much entanglement ap- 
peared best for me, though the income might be smalh I had 
several offers of business tEaf appeared profitable, but I did 
not see my way clear to accept of them, as believing they would 
be attended with more outward care and cimiber than was re- 
quired of me to engage in ; I saw that an humble man, with the 
blessing of the Lord, might live on a little, and that where the 
heart was set on greatness, success in business did not satisfy 
the craving; but that commonly with no increase of wealth, the 


desire of wealth increased." What would he have thought of 
modern business life? He lived on in the outskirts of the lit- 
tle town, his soul "so environed with Heavenly Light and 
Consolation" that hard things were made easy to him, and con- 
tentment was his portion. 

John Cox Jr. is authority for the statement that on his lit- 
tle farm, John Woolman at harvest time watched with tender 
care over the condition of his livestock, so that when the young 
lamb or calf was ready to kill for the feeding of the harvest hands, 
he discarded the usual method of severing the jugular vein and 
allowing the creature to bleed to death. He kept instead, a great 
wooden block, upon which, with legs tied, the animal was laid 
and its head severed from the body with one stroke.^ 

The meagre statements of the Journalist, however, are sup- 
plemented for us in his Larger Account Book, where we way 
well be surprised at the busy activities of this man of modera- 
tion. The accounts run on steadily until 1764, and after that, with 
intervals, until he sailed for England in 1772. The entries are 
in part reproduced here because they furnish, as nothing else 
can, a vivid impression of John Woolman's daily life: 


da mo f s. d. 

6: 11: Samuel Haines's coffin costs i 12 

and digging the grave o 6 

"Rec'd one moidore" 2 6 6 


da mo 

19: 5: At Attendance and Clerkship at the Apprais Mt. 050 

To Transcribing a large Inventory o 2 o 

To Going to Burlington to Carry in ye Inventory 046 
To Writing Advertisements for Vendue and 

Clerkship and Attendance at Vendue o 4 o 

To Writing Indentures binding Gamaliel and 

Aquilla to Trades o 2 6 

To Tracing the lines of the large lot back of the 
town, allso the lot Budd Bought, & Bargain- 
ing o 3 6 

•Letter of John Cox, Jr., to Joseph Sturge: "A Visit to the United States," 1841, 
p. 62. 



da mo f s. ■ d. 

31 5 To Going to Burling", by Appointment to meet 
Robt. Smith, Joseph Scattergood & Thomas 
Earle on an Affair betwixt Sd. Earle & T. S. 
Dec'd o 3 6 

da mo 

19 6 To a Second meeting on sd. Affair o 5 o 

To Assisting in Traceing the Lines & fixing 
Corners to the two parallels land sold Jos. 
Burr, & going to S. Cripses Concerning quit 
claim — o 6 o 

To one day attending the Audit of Cort on the 

Affair of Thomas Earle o 4 6 










To Employing my Brother to go to Borden 
Town to Speak with Jno. Sykes, Exr. of 
Matthew Champin, Concerning Wm. Earle's 
Estate 4 o 

27: 3mo. 1757 Woolman makes the following note — 

"To Assisting at ye Signing John Justice's 090 
Deed. As it is a Custom in Signing deeds to 
Sign a Separate receipt at ye bottom of the 
Consideration Money, So I have done in this 
Estate of T. Shinn. Sometimes Signed Such 
receipts, but never rec'd any money: this is 
Truth. John Woolman." 


da mo 

15: 11: The Estate of Negro Maria is charged "For 
Cash paid Zach. Rossel for the two Children's 

passage up in ye Mountholly Stage." o 4 o 

Digging ye Grave o 5 o 

To self and horse two days in ye above Affair. . o 10 o 
To my time one day going to Mother's when 

Henry Burr took Isabella o 4 o 


da mo 

29: 6: To Going to Burlington to Speak with Samuel 
Smith Concerning the title of the Land he 
proposed to buy. 


12. 3 1762. (The Legatees sign discharges, and Estate is 

da mo 
27; 12: 1762 

Accompt of my proceeding as Exr. to the last will of my 
Beloved Friend Peter Fearon dec'd, as Joynt Exr. with 
Thomas Wetherill. 
da mo 

i: 9: Attending at Thos. Wetherill's, Conferring about 
Taking the Opinion of a lawyer, and prepar- 
ing a State of the Case in Writing, for Benj. 
Chew, whom ye Legatees Chuse to apply to f s. d. 


da mo 

4: Affairs relating to the Estate of Peter Fearon 
I believe are all Settled. John Woolman." 
The following paragraph closes this Book : 

"Memorandum for myself. As the credits upon Book apprais'd at 
9:19: and I suppose ac'ct of the Debtors will be produced, Against 
part, and some prove Insolvent, its therefore Necessary to take 
Notice how much I receive on acct. particulars." 

It is evident that the period of Woolman's life between his 
marriage (1749) and 1760 was one of great activity. He de- 
clined his "merchandizing," but his books show that his busi- 
ness as a surveyor and conveyancer was increasing — an em- 
plo)'ment very much more in accord with his tastes. Deeds ex- 
ist in which he bought and sold lands within forty-eight hours, 
evidently to settle estates. Two of these, dated imo. 29 and 
31st, 1757, are for the estate of his friend, Peter Andrews," 
who died abroad. The widow and son, Esther ^' and Benajah 
Andrews,^' as Executors, sell to John Woolman, who at once 
makes a second deed of sale to Benajah Andrews, who thus ob- 
tains the homestead and clears the title.^ While Woolman kept 
closely in touch with tlie affairs of the Quakers, who as a body 
were now passing through the greatest crisis of their Colonial 

^ The original deeds, in Jolin Woolman's handwriting, are in possession of the 
Editor. A similar transaction occurred in 1762 for Thomas Reynolds, to settle the 
estate of his father, Patrick Reynolds. (Deed in possession of Henry C, Shinn 
of Mt. Holly.) 


history, he also watched the larger course of political events, and 
their effect not only upon his own religious society, but also upon 
the Indians, for whom his sympathies had long been aroused. 
His opportunities for informing himself were unusually great. 

The year 1754 opened with the failure of Washington's diplo- 
matic mission to the Indian frontier, and the news was printed 
in Benjamin Franklin's "Pennsylvania Gazette" for February 
5th, in a letter from Virginia. Warlike threats from the French 
accompanied the news of the young ambassador's return. This 
copy of the "Gazette" would reach Mount Holly the day after 
publication, and the despatch from Europe containing the threat 
of revolution in the GalHcan church by reason of the tyranny of 
the ministers and clergy, taken together with the rumors of war, 
might well cause the dream which Woolman records as occur- 
ring to him the following night. This dream was omitted by 
the first editorial committee, and their example has been followed 
by the few who have since collated the manuscript with the 

It will be evident to the careful reader of Woolman that he 
lays great importance on the dreams which came to him through- 
out his life. They are dwelt upon with so much significance, 
that every previously omitted reference to these "visions of the 
night," as he calls them, has been carefully preserved in this 
edition. Alive to all the burdens of the human race, he dwelt 
upon their sorrows, and in imagination, anticipated the conse- 
quences ; in the silent hours of the night he saw indefinite warn- 
ings and heard mysterious voices, which at once became to him 
messages of grave import. The Quaker belief in special spiritual 
communications, sometimes, as with George Fox, accompanied by 
the gift of healing, has led several writers on Woolman into the 
declaration that among Woolman's sect a belief in witchcraft' 
was universal. The contrary is true. At a period when intelli- 
gent people were still superstitious and observant of omens, etc., 
the Quakers were distinguished for their sanity and common 
sense. This dream of Woolman has been called a physical, "dis- 
tinct pre-vision of the seven years war," but that is claiming too 
much.^ The dream of February 6th was followed by the news 
of the departure of Washington for Western Pennsylvania in 

"See the Editor's "Witchcraft and Quakerism." 


the early spring, and in midsummer, by his surrender at Fort 
Necessity. The next summer Woolman saw in Philadelphia 
the exiled Acadians whose sorrows are sung in "Kvangehne," 
and to whom his French friend, Anthony Benezet," at once de- 
voted himself. Soon after came the defeat of Braddock. How- 
ever Woolman might desire to live retired from all the turmoil 
of the war then going on, he was too closely in touch with the 
powerful Friends who were laboring to relieve the situation, to 
escape the effects of the prevailing excitement, and news of the 
Lisbon earthquake only added to the general apprehension. Soon 
the problem came close home. 

In 1755 General Braddock was sent to the Colonies as Com- 
mander-in-Chief, with two regiments of British troops, for whom 
Parliament made provision. Two other regiments were to be 
raised by the Governors, and for payment of these troops the 
Colonies were heavily taxed. This tax, paid by many Friends 
with the general tax, John Woolman and certain of the more 
scrupulous Friends found themselves unable to pay, and an 
Epistle of "Tender Love and Caution," chiefly written by Wool- 
man, was sent out by them in the summer of 1755. After the 
death of Braddock, the Earl of Loudoun arrived (1757) as 
General of the forces ; the burden became heavier, and in the 
autumn of that year the local militia was drafted. A large num- 
ber of patriotic young Quakers joined the troops. A second call 
brought out still more, and when the militia of Northampton 
township began drilling in Mount Holly on the public square, 
John Woolman's mind was much affected. Only partial relief 
came to him when the destruction of Fort William Henry released 
the second draft to return home. 

At this time our philanthropist was not confining his atten- 
tion to affairs at home, but was sharing in the communications 
with the Friends in England. A "Meeting for Suflferings" was 
estabhshed by the Friends of Philadelphia in 1756, having for its 
object, like that of London, on which it was modeled, the care 
of the Society in an official capacity during the intervals of the 
Yearly Meeting. Its work was to protect the interests of the 
Quakers with the government at home and abroad. John Wool- 
man was among the first appointed, and under date 9 mo. 18 to 
24, 1756, signs a minute stating their reasons for raising the 


Yearly Meeting stock in order to aid Friends "in their dis- 
tressed state on the frontier settlements," &c.^ A petition to the 
Proprietaries, Thomas and Richard Penn (5mo. 1765) against 
the Assembly's militia tax, was the first business transacted by 
the newly created body. 

The minute for i2mo. 17, 1756 contains the Committee's 
epistle to the corresponding body in London. A paragraph 
reads : 

"One occasion of raising Money hath occurred among us, which 
we think proper to make some Mention of, which is, that soon after 
the defeat of the Army sent last year to Virginia (cf. Braddock) 
Some of the Indians in the Interest of the French having committed 
Hostilities on the Frontiers of that Province, the Consideration of 
the Circumstances of those Indians who had been our old Friends 
and Neighbours, led some of us to think whether we, as a Society 
in Particular, & this Government in General, had fully discharged 
our Duty towards them? A little Reflection was Sufficient to con- 
vince us there had been a Deficiency, & incited to a Concern to give 
them some fresh Testimony of our regard, which some of us in our 
private Stations were willing to Manifest, & Others by their En- 
deavours to engage the Government to do it in Such Manner as 
would be more immediately Effectual." 

There was some delay, and the second Treaty of the Governor 
and the Delaware Indians is referred to as having been made; 
the affair was finally left in the hands of a Committee.^ Wool- 
man was on the Committee in 1758, which advised against Mili- 
tary Service, "particularly from voluntarily assisting with ships, 
Waggons, or other Carriages for transporting Implements of 
Warr or MiUtary Stores." ^ 

Meantime, with activities progressing under Loudoun, each 
colony "was to raise, pay and clothe its quota of men, while arms, 
stores of war, and provisions were to be furnished at the ex- 
pense of the Crown." '' The requisition called for five thousand 
troops to defend the southern colonies, — twelve hundred English 
and thirty-six hundred provincials. New Jersey was included 
with New York and New England in the northern military 

> Minutes, Phila. Meeting for Sufferings, Vol. I, p. 27. 

2 Ibid., I, pp. 49-51- 

" Ibid., for 6 mo. i, 1758. 

* W. Root. "Relations of Pennsylvania and Great Britain, 1690-1765," p. 252. 


division, while Pennsylvania, with the southern colonies, formed 
the southern division. New Jersey, as well as the south, showed 
no energy in raising men or money. In fact, the failure to 
produce even half her quota, was due to the presence of the 
Quakers, according to the greatly angered Lord Loudoun,^ whose 
requisition system meeting with complete failure, William Pitt in 
1758 recalled him to England. 

The "Epistle" for 1759 from Philadelphia to its subordinate 
meetings "along this Continent" was the work of John Wool- 
man, and deals rather with the "empires and kingdoms of the 
earth" and the political situation, than with the negroes. The 
visit of the "Friend who was a Justice of the Peace," hereto- 
fore unpubhshed, shows perfectly Woolman's position in re- 
gard to paying a war-tax. Clear and direct, with any shadow of 
compromise impossible to his almost f)ellucid soul, he never hesi- 
tates. The Epistle would appear to have been written indepen- 
dently and submitted to the use of the meeting later. He had 
visited the country meetings of Chester and Delaware counties, 
and had been wearied by their eight-hour-long sittings, where 
the war situation was endlessly discussed, and the Friends were 
not in agreement. In Philadelphia, where the coolness of certain 
of his close friends with large business interests and political en- 
tanglements, somewhat distressed him, he was yet apparently 
able to see that some one must labor in that part of the field for 
the relief of the entire body ; and it was toward these as well 
as those who still clung to their slaves, that he felt "a sympathy 
and tenderness." Who was the "Friend of considerable note" 
that was "cool" toward him, there is no clue. The visit to him, 
when "things relating to that shyness were searched to the bot- 
tom," is entirely characteristic of John Woolman. 

While he was at London Grove, Pennsylvania, Quarterly 
Meeting, held 11 mo. 18, 1758, the incident at Thomas Wood- 
ward's [1722- 1 785] house occurred. There was a large attend- 
ance, due probably to the fact that this was the first time the 
Quarterly " meeting had been held in that place. John Woolman 
had delivered a powerful sermon against slavery, after which 
he and other Friends went to Thomas Woodward's for dinner. 

^ C. Kimball. "Correspondence of William Pitt," Vol, I, pp. 41, 43, 63. 
- London Grove was set ofT from Goshen when the latter grew large, and Friends 
settled at the former place in great numbers. This story comes from Gilbert Cope. 


Upon entering the house he observed some colored servants, and 
learning that they were slaves, he quietly turned and left the 
room and the house. Thomas and his friends supposed that he 
vk^ould shortly return, but they were disappointed. Thomas Wood- 
ward was a man of some standing in the community as farmer, 
surveyor and conveyancer. He also bound books. Moreover, his 
position in the Meeting was one of importance, and the incident 
had a great effect upon his mind. On waking next morning he told 
his wife that he must liberate his slaves. She asked if all must 
be set free, adding "Must Bet go too?" even bursting into tears 
at the thought of losing her faithful servant. But the decree 
was made and carried out, for Thomas was not willing to keep 
a house at which his friends could not be entertained. Fie was 
afterwards appointed on a committee to visit such as held slaves, 
and endeavored to convince them of the evil. 

The cause of the Negro was meantime gaining in strength, 
and Philadelphia Friends in 1760 could say, "The growing con- 
cern, which hath appeared amongst us for some years past, to 
discourage the Practice of making Slaves of our Fellow Crea- 
tures, hath been visibly blessed with Success." ^ 

/The Monthly Meeting to which John Woolman belonged, in 
response to the question of the Yearly Meeting of 1755, gave in 
1757 a favorable report upon the whole, as to the condition of 
slaves in BurHngton County at that time. The Friends said, 
"all are clear of importing negroes or purchasing them for term 
of Hfe; several have been purchased for a term of years. They 
are generally well fed and clothed. Some are taught to read 
and taken to meetings," but others are taken little care of in these 
respects." The freeing of a pair of slaves, David and Dinah, by 
Caleb Haines, by verbal process, would coincide with this date. 
A Court opinion later upheld its legality.^ The Yearly Meeting 
referred to had made the purchase of slaves a disownable of- 
fence. John Woolman himself tells us what was done in 1758. 
Of this period and of the action taken at Philadelphia by the 
Friends on what proved to be a really momentous occasion, 
much has been written. The Journal itself is explicit. The essays 

I Epistle (Broadside) from Yearly Meeting held at Burlington, 9mo. 27, 1760. 
In Haverford College Library. John Smith, Clerk. 
'See Hall's Gazette, imo. 17, 1776. 


/.^ on the slave trade, and his personal labors, had given the impetus 
^to a movement which made the meeting of 1758 a notable gather- 
ing in the results of its action on slavery, when the humble-mmded 
preacher moved the large assembly to its depths by his appeal. 
The Committee upon which for several years he successfully 
labored, continued its work until 1761, and in 1776 all Friends 
in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting were disowned who refused to 
manumit their slaves. <rhe system was abolished by law in Penn- 
sylvania in 1780 and in 1803 by New Jersey.^ 

Thus far the anti-slavery cause. Woolman's attitude to- 
wards another great reform, physical rather than moral, was 
conservative. His visit to Bucks county in the autumn of 1759 
was made entirely with the slavery protest in mind ; he returned 
to find his town in the throes of a visitation of small-pox, the 
dreaded scourge of the eighteenth century. At this time, how- 
ever, inoculation was rapidly advancing in favor with the emi- 
nent physicians of the day, and the Philadelphia practitioners 
were using it with marked success. The young Thomas Jeffer- 
son had recently made his first visit to Philadelphia to undergo 
inoculation on the banks of the Schuylkill. A profound impres- 
sion had been caused in November, 1757, by the deaths of Jona- 
than Edwards at Princeton, and that of his daughter, the wife 
of President Aaron Burr, both the victims of small-pox. John 
Woolman had evidently a great dread of the loathsome disease; 
and little wonder, for a sensitive and delicate temperament like 
his must have felt great repulsion towards it, in the days before 
any sort of suitable antiseptic treatment was known. The patient 
was usually visited by all his relatives and friends, no matter 
how great his sufifering or how high his fever, and at his fu- 
neral — for he usually died — crowds attended at the infected house 
and grave. 

i John Woolman's sister had died of small-pox, and he himself, 
his cousin William Hunt, and his own daughter were to die of it. 
He mentions it in more than one of his letters, and was in the 
habit of avoiding those houses where the disease was known to 

^ The slaves of Gloucester County, N. J., were freed with much formality. The 
owner was obliged to bring his slave before two overseers of the township and two 
Tustices of the Peace, who examined the negro to determine his soundness of body, 
mind and age, with a view to his ability for self-support. The first record in the Book 
of Manumissions is for John Gill, Sr., who freed a slave, Nov, 23, 1787. ("Notes on 
Old Gloucester," p. 65.) 


be present. It was in his mind upon going to England, as indeed 
it was with all persons not immune. When Edward Bass, tirst 
Bishop of Massachusetts, went to London for ordination by 
Bishop Sherlock in 1767, his letter to the officers of the church 
shows the haunting fear of small-pox which was felt by most 
American visitors. His sponsor says, "There is one thing in par- 
ticular in which he desires your assistance, viz. that you will do 
what you can to dismiss his business speedily, because he has 
never had the small-pox, which he is fearful of, having proved 
fatal to many New England men in London." ^ 

With all this dread John Woolman nevertheless shared the 
feelings of those ministe'rs of the period who preached from their 
pulpits against inoculation as an interference with the designs 
of the Most High. He regarded small-pox as "a Messenger of 
the Almighty, to be an Assistant in the cause of virtue." But he 
is too good a doctor and health-commissioner, and too intelligent 
a citizen, not to see the necessity for isolation. Moreover, he 
writes, "Had God endowed men with understanding to prevent 
this disease, by means which have never proved hurtful or mortal, 
such a discovery might be considered as the period of chastise- 
ment by this distemper, where that knowledge extended." A 
suppressed paragraph shows Woolman's sanctified common 
sense. "Was no business done, no visits made, nor any assem- 
bling of people together, but such as were consistent with pure 
Wisdom, nor no Inoculation, there would be a great Alteration 
in the Operation of this disorder amongst Men." There can 
hardly be any doubt, as J. G. Whittier suggests, that vaccina- 
tion would have been welcomed by him : "he almost seems to have 
anticipated some such preventative." Here, indeed, is the phy- 
sician, prescribing isolation and quarantine. Thoughts like these 
invariably arose when Woolman contemplated a tour such as he 
now felt called upon to make in the interest of the negro. 

' W. Updike: "History of the Episcopal Church in Narragansett," Vol. II, p. 46. 



John Woolman had long felt that he must again visit the 
Friends "to the Eastward," and express to them his deep sym- 
pathy for those who bore the burden of protest against the slave 
interests of New England. He had been in Newport and Nan- 
tucket in 1747 at the age of twenty-seven, and had then traveled 
by way of New York and through the "Oblong" country be- 
tween the Hudson River and the Connecticut boundary. This 
time in the spring of 1760, with Samuel Eastburn,-" who had 
recently accompanied him in Bucks County, Penns\ Ivania, he 
went more directly toward Newport, all the way under the bur- 
den of the effort that he felt he must make to arouse emancipa- 
'tion sentiment in the very stronghold of^sfavery, of whiclr"New- 
port was one of the largest ceiitresr- He was to visit "those 
whose station in families or in the society was such that their ex- 
ample had a powerful tendency to open the way for others to 
go aside from . . . the Truth." Here dwelt the Wantons, the 
Redwoods, and Stephen Hopkins, while Samuel Rodman of 
Greenwich and Thomas Hazard of Peacedale, with other influ- 
ential Friends, were all attenders of Newport Yearly Meeting.^ 

In preparation for this visit it is evident that his friend, John 
Smith, had given him some helpful advice as to his conduct among 
the wealthy Friends he was about to visit and who were known 
to himself. John Woolman never left home without having made 
every preparation in case he should not return, and the letter 
which he wrote John Smith ^^ on the eve of his departure not 
only shows this, but also the intimacy which existed between 
them. "S.A." is Samuel Allinson of Burlington, New Jersey, 
a Quaker conveyancer and attorney of note, and a man of influ- 

^ For the influential Friends to whom was John Woolman's message in Rhode 
Island, see "Quakers in the American Colonies," p. 171 fE. by R. M. Jones. 



ence in the meeting. "Mary's" identity is established as the grand- 
daughter of Ebenezer Large, whose estate John Woohnan aided 
in settling. The letter to John Pemberton ' was written on the 
same day. 

Belov'd Friend 

I rec'd that letter from LP. at a time when my mind was so 
Employ'd about endeavouring to put my family and affairs in a con- 
dition to leave them with satisfaction; And that, with the Shortness 
of the Time before me, Seem'd to make it very difficult to me to do 
anything in it. And meeting with J. Noble, I saw no better way than 
to send thee the letter. 

I understood the hund'''^ pound to Mary was to be paid in 3 years 
after her Father's decease, which is not yet Expir'd. I propos'd to 
Mary some weeks ago to take a bond of S.A. for that Sum that 
might be due. She seem'd Easie to have it in Samuel's hands till 
time of payment as Believing it safer, and I was Cautious, as the 
Money was not due, of moveing anything which might beget uneasi- 
ness in the family; but if any one who are more fully acquainted 
with his Circumstance, think the Case requires it, I Expect he would 
let her have £100 in Elt. hands at the request of f'rds. So no more 
at present as to that. 

Last night in my Sleep I thought I was in a Room with thee, and 
thou drawing thy chair nigh mine, did, in a friendly way, tell me of 
Sundry particular failings thou had observed in me, and Express'' 
Some desire that I might do better. I felt inwardly thankfull for 
thy care over me, and made little other reply than to tell thee that 
I took it very kind. 

Allmost as Soon as I woke I remembered it, and though I could 
see some things in which I had not done so well as I might, yet the 
particulars thou pointed out were gone from me, nor can I yet 
remember them. 

I am about to leave home under much thoughtfulness, & at times 
it Seems to border upon distress of Mind. But (I) retain a desire 
to put my whole trust in Him who is able to help throug (sic) all 

With kind Love to thee and thy Wife, I remain your f'rd 
da. mo 
16 4 1760 John Woolman. 

I hope my Dear Wife will be Noticed by her friends. t_ yj_ 

Endorsed : "For John Smith, at Burlington." ' 

"Ridgway Branch. Phila. Library, Phila. Smith MSS., Vol. V, 1756-1762. For 
S. AUinson, see note, p. 8. 


da. Mo. 

Mount Holly — i6: 4: 1760. 
Dear Friend 

The Matter thou mentioned in thy Letter a few days past I had 
thought a good deal of and talked with Mary about it, but had not 
seen a clear way to do anything in it. 

I rec'd thine on Second day last, and expect to leave home this 
day ; that as Mary is not here now, there was no Opertunity for me 
to do anything. Especially as I was thoughtful to put my family in 
a Condition to leave. As thou mentioned J. Smith as one who might 
be a Friend to Mary, I knew not how to do better than .to Acquaint 
him with the Care thou had on her Account, which I have done, and 
so with Kind kind (sic) love to thee & thy Mother and Enquiring 
f'rds, I remain 

thy f'rd, 

John Woolman. 
John Woolman to John Pemberton.'^ 

The travelers reached Newport after visiting Long Island. 
The letter to his wife, quoted in the Journal, was probably sent 
from the house of Richard Hallett,*" a hospitable Friend of Jer- 
icho. The three unpublished letters following largely explain 
themselves. H further evidence of his financial standing were 
needed, the charge to his wife to "spare no cost" to make her life 
comfortable should remove the last doubt. Their neighbor, Han- 
nah Foster,^' was in a position to know all about the "young 

da mo 

11: 5: & I of week. 1760. 
Dear Friend 

My Companion and I are now at Newport, and midling well. 
Was yesterday at the burial of Abram Redwood's Wife,^ and Expect 
if favour'd with health & way opens to be at Boston the latter End 
of the week and to return from the Eastward to Newport Yearly 

I shall take it kind if thou'U please to take care of the Enclos'd, 
& should be glad to hear how my dear Wife and Child are, and f'rds 
about home, not forgetting the Small pox was brief. ( ?) 

Our Visits in general have hitherto been in weakness, and to me 

' Pemberton Papers, Vol. XIV. p. 26. Soc. of Pcnna., Phila. 
2 Abraham Redwood, founder of tlie Redwood Library in Newport, married Martha 
daughter of Abraham CoggeshalL 


it hath been a time of Abasement. I hope, notwithstanding, our ap- 
pointing meetings have not been to the dishonour of Truth. My 
Exercises have, I think, been at least useful! to me, & I am thankfull 
to the Almighty in that I have seen and felt that He knows best 
what is for our good, and the good of f'rds where we come. 

In some humbling Seasons, I have thought of my dear f'rds about 
home, and amongst others, thou and thy wife have been frequent in 
my remembrance. 

f'rds here are generally well. 
For John Smith at Burlington.' 

John Woolman 

da. mo. 
i8: 5: & first of week, 1760. 

Dearly beloved Wife 

My Companion and I are now at Lynn in health about fifteen 
miles Eastward from Boston. 

I have wrote Several letters to thee, Expecting thou will be glad 
to hear that I am well, and I write the oftener, for that I suppose 
they may not all come directly to thy hands. 

It would be Agreeable to me to hear from you, not haveing had 
any Intelligence Concerning you Since I saw you, nor do I expect 
any soon as I am continually going from home. But should way open 
for our Journey I hope to be at the further end of it in less than 
two weeks, and then return toward Newport Yearly Meeting. 

I remember thee and my child often with much nearness of Affec- 
tion, believing thou art Somewhat lonesome in my Absence, and the 
most comfortable thoughts I have on the Subjects are That a Good 
and Gracious GOD Governs the Universe, who makes all things work 
for good to them that love him, of which number I trust thou art one. 
My love is to my dear Fr'ds. about home. 

John Woolman." 

da. mo. 
Newport 14 6 1760 
Dear wife 

I heard not from home after I left you till two days ago I rec'd 
thy two letters one Sent by B.A.(?) & other by H.F." which were 
truly Acceptable to me. 

I hear by Wm. Lightfoot "' thou hast been poorly but at the time of 
his passing by was better. Thy not mentioning it in thy letters, I 

' Smith MSS., Vol. V. 1 756-1 762. Ridgway Branch, Phila. Lib., Phila. 
' Original in Woolman MSS., Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 
» Hannah Foster (27). 


consider as intended kindness to me by forbearing to contribute to 
the Increase of my Exercise. I feel a most tender Concern for thee, 
as knowing thy Condition to be Attended with dificulty, and find at 
times a disposition to hasten for thy Sake. But Such is the weight 
of the work I am engaged in, and Such the baptisms with which I 
have been baptized; that I see A Necessity for all nature to Stand 
Silent. I know not that I ever have had a Sharper Conflict in Spirit, 
or better understood what it was to take up the Cross, than of late. 
The depth of which Exercise is know (sic) only to the Almighty, and 
yet my beloved Companion Saml.' hath been a true and faithful 
Sympathizer with me. I am humbly Thankfull to My Gracious 
Father, who has brought my mind in a good degree to be resigned 
to him. 

From Him my being is derived. My life from one minute to 
another is Sustained by him. All I have are his gifts, and I am 
endeavouring (though in weakness) to Surrender all to him. My 
Care about thee and my Child is much greater than any other Care 
(as to the Things of this life) but my comfort hath all along been 
that a Greater than I is careful for you, to whose Gracious protection 
I recoinend you. 

The frds. from our parts are all here & appear to be well. We 
have been generally pretty well, have got forward on our Journey. 
There remains about 14 meetings besides Nantucket which we have 
not been at. Should we be favoured to get through them we Expect 
to go for Oblong in York Governm'. 

Spare no cost to make thy life Comfortable as may be. I say so 
because I heard by H.F. thou wast disappointed about a young 

My love is to all my dear frds. 

John Woolman.^ 

In the colonial period, a young woman who was a Friend 
was often to be found aiding in the domestic life of the Quakers 
of standing. The "young woman" to whom our Journalist refers 
was probably the daughter of some Friend in the neighborhood, 
or in Philadelphia. Mary Woolman would be ten years old at 
this date, and in the absence of the father, her mother, who was 
not robust, much needed help in the affairs of the household. 
There were besides, the luisiness affairs, and the oversight of the 

^ Samuel Eastburn (26). 

^ This letter, written on both sides of the paper, measures 6J^ X 8 inches. Original 
in possession of Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Woolman Papers. 


garden and orchard. A negro man was usually employed by John 
Woolman, and one of them is named in his Larger Account Book 
as "Primas." 

Another letter to John Smith a few days later is in response 
to his evident request that Woolman collect information and stir 
up Friends to make suitable memorial records of their deceased 
ministers and elders. Three great folio volumes, in the large clear 
handwriting of John Smith," ^ testify to the painstaking care 
with which he was pursuing this task, not quite completed at the 
time of his death. John Woolman was the means of having the 
subject taken up by New England Friends. 

Dear f rd 

After I left home I heard not from my family till I came to 
Newport Yearly Meeting at which I rec'd two letters from thee, 
dated 18 : & 25 : smo., and how acceptable they were is hard to 

Some pt. of thy first and longest letter has had a particular and 
frequent place in my Consideration, and I think has done me a 
little good. I was helped with a little help. 

The Yearly Meeting is now finish'd. E.S.^ & H.F.' are going to 
Boston and Eastward. J. Storer ^^ expects to visit some Mo. meetings 
round about N.Y. M.R.,' S.E.'' and I Expect to go to Nantucket 
Yearly Meeting, if way open. 

I find no Memorial in any records in this Y. Meeting, but now at 
this Seting friends have made a Minute in the Y.M. Book, a Copy 
to be sent to the Quart" &c., to do that work. 

Thy kindness in sending my letters is gratefully own'd. Truth 
is the same in all places : it is felt and own'd by Multitudes of people 
who yet are distinguished by Some Circumstances (Some inded do not 
live up to what they see to be right), and the clearer the discovery, 
the Stronger the Obligation to labour in that Spirit which Suffers 
long and is kind, thereby if haply to point out the more perfect way. 

I have had to Admire that Wisdom who appoints to his Servants 
their several and respective Employments : and to Adore that power 

' Now in possession of Haverford College Library. A "Manuscript List of Friends 
in Great Britain, of whom no Account exists," dated "Dublin, 22, 12 mo. 1763," was 
sent by Dr. John Rutty to Jolin Smith, to be included in this collection of Memorials. 
The original, in Dr. Rutty's handwriting, may be seen at the Eidgway Branch of the 
Philadelphia Library, [Smith MSS., Vol. V.I. 1762-1765.] 

' Elizabeth Shipley (29). 

■Hannah Foster (27). 

* Mary Ridgway (30). 

■' Samuel Eastburn (26). , 


which hath Supported my Soul and kept me in a resignation through 
some uncommon Exercises. I remember you often with much near- 
ness, and allsoe my dear f'rds about home. 

John Woolman, 
da. mo. 
Newport. 17 6 1760 
For John Smith at Buriington." ' 

John Woolman wrote also to his brother Abner, for whom 
he evidently had a deep affection.^ The date is the same as the 
foregoing : 

"Dear Brother 

I have remembered (since I left home) thee and thy family very 
often with much warmness of love. 

We are at Newport and expect to go for Nantucket soon, if way 
open. We have been fellow feelers with the afflicted, nor is any 
affliction too great to endure for the Truth. This I own, and am 
labouring daily to be found in that resignation. 

I am pinched for time, but wanted to let thee know I often thought 
of you. 

John Woolman. 
da. mo. 
17 6 1760 

For Abner Woolman." 

f.y^ John Woolman does not name the New England Friends who 
were engaged in aiding him to hold his anti-slavery meeting in 
the meeting-house chambe r at Newport, but a memora ndum by 
Isaac Pniazard, of Rhode Island mentions the intimacy exist- 
ing betweeir~Thomas Hazard [1720- 1 798] of Peacedale,^ and 
John Woolman. The two were exactly the same age, both having 
been born in 1720, and when Woolman was in the Narragansett 
country on his first visit in 1747, he had met and visited this 
young pioneer in the movement in New England. The meeting 
records contain no mention of his visits. Hazard and Woolman 
had been awakened to the evils of slavery at almost the same 

' Smith MSS., Vol. V, 1756-1762. Ridgway Branch Phila. Library, Phila. 

2 From a copy in the Library of Devonshire House, London. Printed in the ap- 
pendix to the "Century" Edition of John Woolman's Journal. Headley Bros., London. 

^ W. Upditce, "History of the Episcopal Church in Narragansett, R. I." 2nd Edit., 
Vol. II, p. 68. 


moment in their lives at the age of twenty-three/ When they 
met, five years after, each had been consistently laboring in church 
and civic affairs, to abolish the trade. The Friends of New Eng- 
land were as far advanced on the subject as those of Penn- 
sylvania, so far as their meeting records went. Nantucket has 
been cited: Sandwich Friends in 1711, disowned a woman who 
permitted her slave to be beaten with a severity that caused his 
death,^ and the Rhode Island Assembly of 1729 allowed and 
encouraged manumission, provided the sum of one hundred 
pounds was also paid to the town, as an indemnity against any 
charge upon'Needless to say, few slaves, with such a prac- 
tical penalty, were freed ! ^ The efforts were chiefly directed 
against cruelty. The Yearly Meeting of Newport in 1727 cen- 
sured the importation of slaves, and in 1743, the year in which 
Thomas Hazard freed his negroes, the same meeting "agreed" 
. . . that they ask "of Friends in Pennsylvania an account 
of what they have done in the matter," knowing the growth 
of antislavery sentiment in the Colony of William 

The subject, however, was almost at a standstill, when John 
Woolman and the Friends accompanying him arrived at New- 
port in 1760. They had five meetings en route in the Nar- 
ragansett country, (Greenwich Monthly Meeting), where, in ad- 
dition to Thomas Hazard, whose father was the largest slave 
owner in the Province, they must have been warmly welcomed by 
Richard Smith, living over the border in Groton, Connecticut, 
who had not long before, freed his "negro garl, Jane," as "free 
as if Shee had been free born." The other ministers who were 
Woolman's fellow guests at the country Friends' houses, did not 
feel the same burden, and he alone generally had a private con- 
ference with his host on this vital subject. He did not, how- 
ever, "think hardly" of the other Friends, nor did he repine at 
his own "unpleasant task"'~^assigned him by his Master, but 

1 Young Hazard visited his father's friend to buy cattle for his new farm, and the 
old Baptist deacon held many long theological discussions with the young Quaker. 
Finally the deacon said, "Quakers I They are not Christian people," answering the sur- 
prised inquiry of Hazard by adding, "They hold their fellow-men in slavery!" From 
that moment the abolition of slaves became his chief object in life. The story is well 
told in Caroline Hazard's "College Tom," p. 42, q. v. for Thos. Hazard. 

2 Records, Sandwich Monthly Meeting, 3 mo. (May) 30, 1711. 
' Caroline Hazard. "College Tom," p. 45. 


"looked with awfulness to Him who appoints his servants their 
respective employments." 

U The little party reached Newport in time to attend the burial 
of Martha Redwood on the loth of May, and visited Boston and 
"eighty miles beyond," with Dover, New Hampshire, as theii 
ultimate goal,^ returning to Newport in time for the Yearly 

\!JVIeeting, where John Woolman's certificate was presented. The 
opening Minute reads, "Att our Yearly Meeting of Friends held 
on Rhode Island for New England, Begun at Portsmouth, ye 
12 day of ye 6 mo. 1760, for Worship, and on ye 13 in ye After- 
noon our Meeting for Church Discipline began at Newport." ' 
John Woolman approached this meeting, he tells us, in great 
"bowedness of spirit,"^ and as he foresaw, here, as in Philadel- 
phia two years before, were accomplished his greatest public la- 
bors against the traffic in human souls. His own account is 
vivid, and discloses the simple hearted devotion in which he 
met the wealthy slave dealers of the most cosmopolitan city in 
America. The Legislature was sitting at the time, and it is to be 
regretted that he has not preserved the text of the petition which 
he had prepared to lay before that body. He succeeded in having 
it read to a number of select Friends, but no official account was 
placed upon the minutes. He had anticipated this result, and 
felt relieved that it was listened to even by the few, who were 
permitted to sign it out of meeting. Unable to take the positive 
action of Philadelphia in 1758, two years earlier, the Newport 
Friends yet had made some advance when they recorded H "We 
fervently warn all in profession with us that they be careful to 
avoid being in any way concerned in reaping the unrighteous 
profits of that iniquitous practice in dealing in negroes. We can 
do no less than, with the greatest earnestness, impress it upon 
Friends everywhere that they endeavor to keep their hands clear 
of this unrighteous gain of oppression." \The records also ad- 
vise that some religious and secular education be given the 
negroes. ,^ While the action taken does not appear very great, yet 
the stimulus of Woolman's visit was felt by the whole body of 
Friends, until in 1744, Thomas Hazard was one of the Yearly 
Meeting's committee to petition the Legislature of Rhode Island 

^ Dover Records contain no mention of this visit. 
' Minutes of New England Y. M., Vol. I, p. 247, 


to pass a law abolishing the trade altogether. He lived to see 
this done and the existence of slavery as an institution terminated 
in Rhode Island. He was powerfully aided by Moses Brown ^ 
[1738-1836] who, upon coming into the Society from the Baptists 
among whom he was bOrn, took the preliminary step in 1773 
of freeing all his own slaves. 

During this same Yearly Meeting Woolman's protest against 
lotteries resulted in a "weighty Concern" that Friends "Dicist" 
from that practice for the future. Lotteries at this time were 
everywhere used by the Government and by Churches for raising 
funds, and the strength of the minute on this occasion would ap- 
pear to have been seized as a way of escape from the greater 
question of slavery.^ Still another activity of this meeting in 
which Woolman took part, but not noted by him, was his ap- 
pointment to aid in the revision of the Discipline. The Commit- 
tee was to "peruse the English Book of Discipline and also that 
of Pennsylvania Book of Discipline, to extract such parts thereof 
in order to Joyn with ours as they shall Judge Necessary and lay 
the whole before this meeting for Approbation . . . together 
with the Strangers hereunto Entered, John Woolman, Samuel 
Eastborn, & John Storer, and any Other Friends that may find a 
Concern to Joyn them."'' ... "A perigraft (paragraph) in the 
Yearly Meeting Epistle from London Concerning Negroes to be 
added." The Committee reported later to the same meet- 
ing, "the Rules of our friends in Olde England are sutable 
for us, . . . with changes Applicable to local condi- 
tions." * 

The strain under which John Woolman had been laboring and 
the effect on his frail physique are evident in his letter from Dart- 
mouth to Sarah Woolman, written after the Yearly Meeting was 
over. He was on his way to Nantucket, which is at present about 
four hours sail from New Bedford. It took the little party 
two days to reach their destination, spending the night at Tar- 
paulin Cove on Naushon Island, now well known to yachts- 

'W. Updike. "Hist, of the Episcopal Church in Narragansett." 2nd Ed., Vol, II, 
p. 68. Moses Brown founded Brown University, Providence, R. I. 
= Records N. E. Y. M. Vol. I, p. 251. 
' N. E. Y. M. Records. MS., Vol. I, p. 248. 
« Ibid., p. 250. 


da mo 

Dartmouth 23 6 1760 
Dear wife da da 

I rec'd thy two letters at Newport dated the 19 : and 20 : of the 

5 and how acceptable they were to me is not Easie to Express. 
I wrote from Newport about a week past and Expecting tomorrow 
if the wind be fair and way open to Sail for Nantucket, was desirous 
to leave a few lines to be forwarded by any Opertunity. We have 
been at five meetings Since the Yearly Meeting and I may say by 
Experience the Lord is good he is a Strong hold in the day of trouble, 
and helpeth those who humbly trust in him. E. Shipley ™ and H. 
Foster " are gone for Boston and Eastward. A. Gaunt " and M.R.' 
Expect to Sail for Nantucket, J. Storer ^ is in these parts & all 
midling well. People in these parts are generally favoured with 
health. I have heard very little of the Small pox Since I came of 
(sic) Long Island. 

I am not so hearty and healthy as I have been Sometimes, and 
yet through the Mercy of the Almighty I am enabled to persue our 
Journey without much difficulty on that Account. 

Every Year brings Additional Experience and I think I never 
more clearly Saw the reasonableness and fitness of Casting all my 
cares on God than I have Since I left thee. 

I remember thee and my Child with Endeared love and tenderness, 
knowing how much you miss me. 

I remember also that God is wise, he knows what is for the best. 
He is good and willing to make us as happy, as we are capable of 

He is strong and nothing is hard for him; that to Love him and 
Serve him in Sincerity is the best way for us in this world. He is 
high and Inhabits Eternity, and dwells allso with them that are 
poor & of a Contrite Spirit. Trust him, my dear, and I fear not 
thou'l do well. 

John Woolman. 

I name none of my dear Fr'ds. but my love is to them all." ' 

Woolman was greatly pleased with the simplicity of life which 
he found on Nantucket, and he contrasts it with the wealth and 
luxury of Philadelphia Friends. The large meetings which he ad- 

* Mary Ridgway."** 

' This letter, written on both sides of the paper, measures 6 X 6^ inches. Original 
in WooUnan Papers, in possession of Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


dressed were probably held in the "Big Shop," where the crowds 
attending the eighteenth century meetings often assembled. This 
was a great sail-loft, which stood until recently as two houses, 
divided after the cessation of the whaling industry. The site 
was at the western end of the town, on Saratoga street, not far 
from the old Friends' Meeting house and graveyard. The meet- 
ing house would not always hold the great congregations. 
^ The anti-slavery sentiment had always had its upholders on 
the independent little island. The Registry of Deeds at Nan- 
tucket contains some interesting manumissions of slaves. In 1750 
Thomas Brock freed his slave Robin by Will. Deeds of Manu- 
mission are recorded by Ebenezer Gardiner, 1741, for slave Pom- 
pey; by William Swain, 1751, for Boston, and in 1760, the date of 
John Woolman's second visit, for another Boston, Maria, and their 
children. In 1771 he frees Essex; and Edward Carey, in 1774, 
frees Cato. 

The New England journey was completed 8mo. 19th, 1760. 
It is probable that the following winter was chiefly occupied in 
writing the second part of his "Coasideration&-on the Keeping of 
"^Negroes," which, for reasons which he makes clear, was pub- 
lished at _his own expense. Woolman had hardly returned from 
nearby visits to Haddonfield and neighboring meetings when he 
fell ill. This illness brought to a crisis his feelings as to a scruple 
on the subjectjjf dress. 

The impression prevails with most writers that John Wool- 
man wore undyed clothing all hisjife: it is true of only the last 
ten years. This was a period of deepj;rial of soul, and his ill- 
ness was to hiro_ajime of crisis and struggle. He had increas- 
ingly felt that the life of the influential Quakers of his acquain- 
tance was too luxurious, and that to his testimony against "cus- 
toms distinguishable from pure wisdom," must be added a visible 
and outward sign of protest. Reflecting on this during the watches 
of the night, while he lay on his bed of pain, he "felt the neces- 
sity of further purifying," and there was no desire in him for 
recovery, "until the design of (his) correction was answered." 
Resignation cahie to him and he felt "in an instant, an inward 
healing" and air once recovered. As a result he gradually dropped 
one indulgence, — we shoi4d_calLLt a necessity — after_another. As 
his clothing wore out, each garment was replaced with one that was 


undyed, and after going to the "Spring Meeting" in Philadelphia 
in 1762, he accomplished the change by getting a beaver hat of the 
natural color of the fur. White hats were the fashion, and so com- 
pletely were his motives misunderstood by some Friends, that for a 
time he could no longer preach. No£jwas he at liberty to explain 
himself, feeling that this was a test_QfJxiendship. From now on, 
little by little, his scruples against many ordinary customs in- 
creased. He declined the use of sugar because it was the product 
of West Indian slave labor. His letters were often written on the 
smallest possible scrap of paper tjiat would accomplish his pur- 
pose, but he did not abandon the use of his horse for riding until 
I266rand then only when he traveled out of the province. 

To this period — 1760 — belong two letters which follow. The 
English Friend to whom the first was written, had recently ar- 
rived in Philadelphia, where Woolman had met her; the Itinerary 
of Jane Crosfield ^ shows that on the day that this letter was 
written she "had a meeting at Ancocas, and rode from thence 
to Mount Holly and lodg'd at Josiah White's." ^* John Woolman 
tells us himself (Journal) that he was at Buckingham on the 
date of the letter, which was therefore not written from his own 
home. "On the nth of 12th. month, I went over the river, and 
on the next day was at Buckingham meeting." John Church- 
man '^ was holding a meeting in the "school house near .Samuel 
Eastburn's" ^^ the night before, and it is likely that John Wool- 
man and he were the guests of Samuel Eastburn, when he wrote 
the letter to Jane Crosfield. Afterwards, "we visited Joseph 
White's '* family, he being in England," adds Woolman. John 
Churchman mentions this visit also,' and that Joseph White him- 
self was in Europe on a religious tour, but his wife, with whom 
they made their home, "appeared to be resigned in the absence 
of her husband, her spirit being sweetened with the truth in in- 
nocent quietude." The "H. White" referred to was doubtless 

^ For J. C, see Biog., Note 34. The letter is a copy of the original and with 
other copies of contemporary correspondence is in the MS. collection of J. D. Crosfield, 
of Liverpool, as is the Itinerary. [Journal. Friends' Hist. Soc, London, Vol. Ill, 
p. 31, 1906.1 It also appears in less perfect form, with incorrect date, in "Friends* 
Family Library," "Letters on Religious Subjects," &c., Vol. II. p. 56. Ed. 
Thos. Kite, Phila., 18.31. Both copies have been altered. There does not appear to 
have been any relationship between Josiah White of Mt. Holly and Joseph White 
of Bucks County, Penna. 

- "Account of the Gospel Labours and Christian Experiences ... of John Church- 
man." London, Edit. 1781, p. 276. 


Hannah, daughter of Josiah White, of Mount Holly who jouied 
Jane Crosfield as companion — she was then but twenty-one.^ ' 
There is a pleasant human note about this letter, before Woolman 
became so burdened with the many scruples which taxed his 
powers later : 

"Since I understand thy draft toward New England at this season 
of the year, I have felt a near sympathy in my mind toward thee, 
and also thy new companion, H. White. 

Looking seriously over the stages and wide waters and thinking 
on the hard frosts and high winds usual in the winter, the journey 
has appeared difficult; but my mind was turned to him, who made 
and commands the winds and the waters, and whose providence is 
over the ravens and the sparrows. 

I believed thou understood his language, and I trust thy ear will 
be attentive to him, and in that there is safety in the greatest diffi- 
culties. "He that believeth maketh not haste," and there seemed a 
hint in my mind to give thee, that thou take a sufficient portion of 
that doctrine along with thee this journey. Should frozen rivers or 
high winds or storms sometimes prevent thy going forward so fast 
as thou could desire, it may be thou may find a service in tarrying 
even amongst a people whose company may not be every way agree- 
able. I remembered that the manner in which Paul made a visit to 
the island of Melita was contrary to his own mind as a man; we find, 
however, that by means thereof, the father of Publius was healed 
of his fever, and many cured of their infirmities. 
Farewell, my dear Friend. 

John Woolman. 
I2th. day, 12th. mo., at night, 1760. 

The want of a suitable opportunity this evening occasioned me to 
take this way." 

This letter has been much edited. 

The second letter is to Woolman's intimate friend, Samuel 
Smith," of Burlington, then Treasurer of the Province of New 
Jersey. The duties of that office and his frequent absences from 
home as a member of the Assembly, often combined with the se- 
vere attacks of gout to which he was subject, to keep him from 
meetings. In this case, he and John Woolman were on a Com- 
mittee together.^ Woolman writes, 

' Hannah White married, ist, Thomas Pryor; 2nd, Daniel Drinker. 
' Original in possession of Mrs. James S. Merritt, of Abington, Penna., a descendant 
in the sixth generation from Samuel Smith. 


"Beloved Friend 

As the appointm' at our last meeting was Submitted to, if we 
prepare no Essay, it will require some Apology, and thou, I expect, 
art likely to be Absent. As Sending a Short Epistle will, I hope, 
have no ill tendency, I, on thinking further on it, Seem'd inclined 
to make an Essay which I send herewith. 

If thou art Easie that one Should go, and would be pleased to 
look over and Alter this as it appears best to thee and Send it back, 
I would Endeavour to Copy as many as there are M° Meetings. 

I remain thy loving fr** 
da mo John Woolman. 

22: 11: 1761 
Samuel Smith, Esq. 
at Burlington." 

This is the only letter that has thus far appeared addressed 
to the Treasurer of the Province. The Esquire, which is the 
remarkable feature about it, was probably used by John Woolman 
entirely in a technical sense, precisely as he would have put J.P., 
indicating a Justice of the Peace. The letter also bears a seal; 
— a deer or gazelle, surrounded by a wreath or line on the edge 
of the oval. 

John Woolman appears to have been at home most of the 
following winter, and a delightful little anecdote is related of 
him."^ A great fall of snow occurred on the night following the 
meeting of ministers and elders preliminary to the General Quar- 
terly Meeting of the Friends in Philadelphia, in February, 1762. 
The drifts lay piled high against the door of his friend, Rebecca 
Jones,^" living in Drinkers' Alley,^ who, fearing that it would be 
impossible for her to leave her house, was no less surprised than 
delighted, on opening her door to sweep away the snow from her 
doorstep, to find her pavement already cleared and a path lead- 
ing down to the next street. A few minutes later, John Wool- 
man entered, remarking quietly that he thought he had earned 

* "Memorials of Rebecca Jones," p. 36. Ed. W. J. Allinson. 

' Drinker's Alley, on a part of and adjoining the property of Henry Drinker, on 
Second Street, contained several comfortable but very small houses. At number 8 
lived Rebecca Jones, where she continued the school for little children started by her 
mother when the latter became a widow. Rebecca Jones was assisted in teaching by 
Hannah Cathrall, until they closed the school in 1784. An interesting anecdote of 
Thomas Harrison who, with his wife, were intimate friends of Rebecca Jones, and the 
slave girl Maria, is given in "Memorials of R. J.," p. 243. 


his breakfast. He had spent the night with his cousins, Reuben 
and Margaret Haines, on High Street, and rising early, had taken 
with him a shovel and had made a good footway for the ladies 
all the way to the Bank Meeting House. After breakfast he 
made another path for the entrance of Rebecca Jones' pupils 
to her school. The editor of the Memorials of R. Jones mentions 
a letter from John Woolman, dated 4 mo. 20, 1772, which has 
reference to this visit, but much search has failed to reveal it. 

To one of his most faithful friends, who was in the heat of 
the political struggle in Pennsylvania, Woolman wrote :— 

da mo. 
Beloved Friend: ^°""t Holly; 20: 6: 1762. 

As true Love moves on our Minds we find them turned at times 
toward certain places & particular persons, and yet unable to give 
any reason why they are turned that way any more than another — 
and Such is my case at present. 

My Mind of late hath been with thee more than usual, & I seem 
at liberty to open to thee the maner in which I have looked toward 

In those small affairs of life which have fallen to my lot to be 
concerned in, I have at times found that which has appeared difficult 
to Manage as a Christian, and Looking at thy Scituation Amidst 
many Affairs, & at the family thou hast the care of, I have felt, as I 
believe, some degree of thy burthen. 

I have had in view the purity of the Heavenly Family. The most 
Gracious and most tender Visitations of Christ to our Souls drawing 
them from the mixture and entanglements, that they may Attain true 
Liberty, and have seem'd in company with thee, looking for and 
desiring a more perfect Deliverance. 

In the Strength of all Temptation and in dificulties which Appear 
very great, there hath seem'd before me a prospect, a POWER, able 
and ready to subdue all things to Himself. 

In a fresh sence of pure Love I remain thy fr* 

John Woolman. 
I send these by Wm. Calvert" with request 

to deliver them into thy hand. 
Endorsed "For Israel Pemberton' 
in Philad'." 

' This is written on the single side of a large double folio sheet — very unusual for 
John Woolman. Original in Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Samuel Parrish'i 
Scrap Book: "Quakers." 


Woolman is ever biEy with meeting affairs. Ebenezer Large, 
who was a prominent minister, had married into John Smith's 
family and had left, in his recently proved will, a bequest to 
Burlington Monthly Meeting, to which he here refers : 

"Beloved Friend 

The Corps of an honest Friend being to be buried at our Meeting 
House today, an inclination to attend the Burial occasions my Ab- 
sence from Meeting. 

I find nothing to hinder a Certificate from being prepared for our 
Friend, John Sleeper.'" 

I remain thy loving friend, 

John Woolman. 
da mo 
4 : 4 : 1763 

Friends concern'd in the Affair of E. Large's Estate need be under no 
difficulty in regard to appointing a time on my account. I am at 
present under no particular appointment on any business that I 
remember. J. W. 

For John Smith at Burlington." ' 

This would seem to have been a time of leisure for Woolman, 
when he devoted liimself to family visits about his own neigh- 
borhood, and to his school and orchard, and when the town inter- 
ests nearly affected him. 

At this period of Mount Holly's history it had only three 
shops, but five or six taverns. At one or two of these, all the 
respectable travelers passing through to Shrewsbury or New 
York, usually stopped. Daniel Jones, who kept the "Three 
Tuns," still standing on Mill Street in Mount Holly, was the 
elder brother of Woolman's friend, Rebecca Jones. The old 
tavern yards were busy places when the stage came in, and there 
is a delightful bit of local color in the visit of the juggler to the 
tavern. He had been well advertised and was so successful that 
his show was to be repeated the next night. One sees John 
Woolman sitting at the entrance, and when the people had gath- 
ered, can almost hear his clear and quiet remonstrance, and his 
sweet invitation to think on higher things. 

George Windsor, Innholder, died in 1758. and Daniel Jones, 

1 Ridgway Branch, Philadelphia Library, Phila. [Smith MSS., Vol. VI, 1762- 


Jr. advertises as administrator in the "Pennsylvania Gazette" 
for May 18, 1758. The same paper for September 17, 1761, 
advertises a "vendue" to be held at the house of Daniel Jones, 
Innkeeper, at "Bridgetown," October 10, 1761, and many such 
were held there for some years. 

A glimpse of the route of travel and the accommodations for 
travelers may make their life more vivid for us if we read the 
following advertisement of the stage set up not long before: 
"Notice is hereby given to the Publick, that we, the subscribers 
have erected a stage Waggon to transport Passengers, etc., from 
Mr. Daniel Couper's Ferry opposite the City of Philadelphia, to 
Mount Holly, from thence through the county of Monmouth to 
Middletown, and from thence to the Bay near Sandy-Hook, where 
a Boat is to attend to convey Passengers etc. to the city of New 
York : the said stage waggon will attend at said Couper's Ferry 
on the second Tuesday in October next, at Seven o'clock in the 
morning : and the said Boat will attend at the city of New York 
on the second Monday in said month. Any person inclining to 
travel in said Stage, may apply to Mr. Martin Ashburn, at the 
Ferry House in Phila. and Mr. George Cooke, near the Exchange 
in New York : the said stage will continue to go once a week at 
present, on said days. Any person inclining to travel to Shrews- 
bury may depend on being accommodated with a Waggon erected 
at Middletown for that purpose, by certain humble servants Ed. 
Taylor and Wm. Taylor at Middletown ; Zachariah Rossell and 
Daniel Jones, Mt. Holly, and John Cox, at Moorestown." ^ 

1 From "Pennsylvania Gazette" No, 1603, Sept. 13, I759- N. J. Archives, XX, 
p. 379- 



For some time John Woolman had been following the course of 
Indian affairs both in his immediate neighborhood and in the 
councils of his Yearly Meeting, where he was increasingly promi- 
nent. Injustice to the red man touched him deeply, and equally 
with the cruelties inflicted upon his black brother, called at his 
hands for redress. Upon the outbreak of hostilities the New 
Jersey Indians were found to be more peaceable than those far- 
ther west, being in part a subject race. They were represented 
in 1721 ^ as few and quiet: — "There are but few Indians in this 
Government, & they, very innocent and Friendly to the In- 
habitants, being under Command of the Five Nations of Iroquois, 
and this Plantation not lying exposed, as some other British Colo- 
nies, &c., they have hitherto built no Forts." 

There were several Indian villages within a short ride of 
Woolman's home, and the semi-civilized inhabitants came into 
the nearby towns to trade. All the Delaware Valley savages be- 
longed to the Lenni-Lenape tribes whose totems were the wolf 
or turtle, and whose conversion to Christianity had been attempted 
by the Swedish Lutheran pastor, Campanius, as early as 1642. 
Campanius made a resolute effort to acquire their language, 
and to preach to them in their native tongue, translating the 
catechism for them into Lenape, in traders' dialect. In view of 
the far more successful attempt of the Moravians, just a hun- 
dred years later, one is led to marvel that no Quaker is on rec- 
ord who ever mastered the Indian language. The Quaker meet- 
ing took no steps toward securing the official Indian interpreters 
whom Governor William Penn in 1699 offered to provide. Both 

* Report of the Lords* Commissioners of Trade & Plantations, Sept. 8, 1731. N.J. 
Archives. XIII, p. 40. 



William Penn and John Richardson (1667-1753) were moved 
with missionary zeal toward the native tribes, but the results of 
their efforts in converting them were more or less ephemeral.^ 
When the Presbyterian pastor, David Brainerd,'" John Wool- 
man's neighbor, began his mission in 1742, to the Indians of 
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he says that there was not an- 
other missionary in either province.^ After his early death a year 
or two later he was succeeded by his brother John Brainerd,"" 
who for years devoted his life to the welfare of the Indian, and 
was long the missionary at Indian Mills, near Mount Holly. 

Doctrinal controversies appear to have interfered with coop- 
eration in the beginnings of missionary work in Burlington 
County. The Friends regarded the Indian converts to Presby- 
terianism as rude and dangerous rioters.^ When Brainerd en- 
joyed Quaker hospitality he endeavored to convince his hosts 
of the need of belief in the outward baptism which they rejected ; 
both parties, however, had the good of the Indian at heart. But 
it was the Moravian who most overcame his own personal preju- 
dice in the effort to bring the simple savage to the Truth. In 
the twenty years between 1741 and 1761, when the great Mora- 
vian missionary, David Zeisberger,'"' was most actively engaged, 
five hundred Indians were converted, of whom two hundred and 
fifty-one were Lenapes.^ 

For over seventy years friendly relations had existed between 
the early English settlers in the middle colonies and the Indians. 
Fair trade and justice in treaty-making had been observed with 
marked success. But in 1754 the trouble brewing in the French 
and Indian War at last broke out. Frontier struggles, followed by 
Braddock's defeat along the Allegheny in the summer of 1755 led 
the Governor and Council of Pennsylvania in the next year to 
declare war, not only against the French, but also the Delaware 
and Shawnee Indians, offering a reward of money for Indian 
scalps, "produced as evidence of their being killed." The decla- 

' See "Account of the Action of the Society of Friends toward the Indian Tribes." 
London, 1844, p. 55, seq. Journal, John Richardson, 1757. 

' "Life of David Brainerd," by Jonathan Edwards, p. 409. 

■ N. J. Archives, Vol. VI. 406. "State of Facts about the Riots." The writer is 
suspicious that the Indians "gather to be taught by one Mr. Brainerd." It was evi- 
dently a new occurrence, as is pointed out I 

' Heckewelder MSS. Library of the American Philosophical Society, Phila. See 
Heckewelder, "Indian Nations." 


ration of war and the scalp-bounty, reversed the entire Indian 
policy of Pennsylvania. The Quakers in the Assembly of the 
Province, already engaged in a struggle to preserve unstained 
their testimony against taking the oath, were now presented with 
an even more difficult situation, since any compromise of their 
testimony against war and fighting was not to be thought of. 
Friends threw themselves heartily into an effort toward recon- 
ciliation, thereby further antagortizing the Gove|rnor and his 
Council, and the acts of the Indians at the Indian Treaties, which 
the)' usually attended, were quite often misrepresented, even to 
their own Meeting in London.^ 

Deeply sympathizing with their American brethren, the Eng- 
lish Friends sent two of their number, Christopher Wilson ''^ 
[1704-1761], and John Hunt ^ [1712-1778] as a delegation from 
the London Meeting, if possible to dissuade all Friends from 
holding office in the colonies.^ Their counsels prevailed, and the 
year 1756 saw the withdrawal of the Quakers from all further 
activities in the Assembly. Quebec was taken by Wolfe in 1759 
and the French Empire in America came to an end, although the 
treaty of peace was not signed until 1765. 

In the meantime Pennsylvania Friends had formed the 
"Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with 
the Indians by Pacific Measures." Its purpose was to restore 
good feeling with the neighboring tribes. Through their efforts 
the great Indian conference was held at Easton in 1756, at which 
Teedyuscung, the famous Delaware chief, stamping his foot on 
the ground, declared, "The very soil on which we stand was un- 
justly taken from us." Yet, through the labors of the Friends 
he became a Christian and used all bis efforts to secure peace. ^ 

The following year, in the neighboring colony, was founded 
another Quaker organization — "The New Jersey Association for 
Helping the Indians." Its Constitution was drawn up by Sam- 

^ Minutes, Meeting for Sufferings. Pliila. 8mo. lo, 1757. 

^ A report was sent to London by the Phila. Meeting for Sufferings on tlieir return 
home in 1757, Sec Minutes for "sth day of 12 mo, 1757," 

■^ A. C. Thomas, "History of Pennsylvania," p. 105. In 1759 Cliarles Thomson, 
later Secretary of the First Continental Congress, published in London "An Enquiry 
into the Causes of the Alienation of the Delaware and Sha\vnee Indians from the 
British Interests," &c. These, besides trade abuse, he took to be deprivation of lands. 
The book embodied his notes, taken when serving as private secretary to Teedyuscung 
at the Treaty. 


uel Smith, the historian, and all of its members were Friends. 
John Woolman's name appears as a founder, with a subscrip- 
tion of six pounds. A conference with the Indians was held at 
Burlington, August 7th and 8th, 1758, when arrangements were 
made for the purchase of a tract of land at Edge Pillock (now 
Brotherton) in Burlington County, three miles from the iron 
works at Atsion, where many Indians found employment. The 
deed was completed before the end of the month. A more gen- 
eral conference was also arranged for "at the Forks of Delaware, 
the next full moon after this." Governor Barnard therefore 
called another Treaty at Easton from the 8th to the 28th of Oc- 
tober 1758. The Indians of the Reservation at Edge Pillock 
hved there in diminishing numbers, always under the care of the 
Friends, until 1801, when, at the invitation of a kindred tribe, the 
Mohicans, they removed to New York near Oneida Lake. Thence 
they migrated to Michigan and finally became merged in other 
tribes in the West. 

The period of eleven years from 1753 to 1764, which marked 
the duration of this Indian war in Pennsylvania, saw many 
companies of savages arriving in Philadelphia both for trade and 
for conference with the Governor. John Woolman often met 
the Indians here and at the Treaties, and followed with great 
solicitude the efforts of Conrad Weisei;, « Indian Commissioner, 
and the influential Quakers, notably his friends, the brothers 
Pemberton,''''-^ and Anthony Benezet,'' in favor of peace. In the 
spring of 1756, while some friendly Indians were in Philadelphia, 
Israel Pemberton " had waited upon the Governor and asked per- 
mission to invite the Indians then in town to dine with a commit- 
tee of Friends in order that the Indian grievances might be 
learned and an effort made to bring about peace.'- The Governor 
acceded the more willingly in view of the low state of the Pro- 
vincial exchequer, but stipulated that nothing should be done with- 
out his approval. The only other condition was that Conrad 
Weiser should be present. 

Israel Pemberton * made a long speech at the dinner, which 
greatly pleased the Indians, Scaroyady, an Indian chief, reply- 
ing cordially. A conference between the Chief and the Quaker, 

1 Joseph S. Walton, "Conrad Weiser and the Indian Policy of Colonial Pennsyl- 
vania," p. 327-8. This book contains an interesting sketch of Conrad Weiser's life. 


in which the Commissioner joined, proved, however, so con- 
clusively the sympathy of the latter with the warlike and suc- 
cessful Iroquois, that little came of the Quaker attempts to ob- 
tain justice for the defrauded Delawares who had lost nearly 
all their lands. The continuance of the enmity between the two 
tribes, and its encouragement by the Royal authorities, who 
failed to understand the Delawares so well as did the Quakers, 
caused much bloodshed in the decade that followed. 

One result, however, of the Quaker peace efforts at the time 
was the despatch of the Chiefs Newcastle, Jonathan, and An- 
drew Montour to Wyoming, with a message of peace from their 
New Jersey and Pennsylvania brothers. Teedyuscung, Chief 
of the United tribes of the Delawares, had been persuaded to 
bury the hatchet,^ and the peace that was patched up was the 
cause for the redemption of the prisoners held by certain In- 
dians at Wyoming. 

We still have the record of "An occasional conversation with 
several Indians after dinner at Israel Pemberton's on the 19th, 
4 mo. 1756." The only reason that we can surmise for John 
Woolman's absence is that he studiously avoided anything that 
might seem to savor of a festivity, and we find him joining the 
conferences at people's houses, but avoiding the dinners, as in this 
instance. It is worth while to name the persons present.^ 

* Indians. 

Scaroyady = Chief 

Kaghsworghtaniyonde = "The Old Belt." 

Kayenquirigoa = "Jonathan" 

Canachtogo = a Cayugan 

Jonathan's wife and son. 


Abraham Farrington, Joshua Dixon, Israel Pemberton, Mary Pem- 
berton, Owen Jones, Anthony Benezet, James Pemberton. 

Conrad Weiser, Andrew Montour, Daniel Claus. 

' Joseph S. Walton, "Conrad Weiser and the Indian Policy of Colonial Pennsyl- 
vania," p. 232. 

^ See an "Account of Conferences and Treaties between Sir William Johnson and 
the Sachems and Warriors, &c." Albany, 1756, p. 65. 


A visit to Philadelphia by these Indians in 1760 is on rec- 
ord, and in the autumn of 1761 the famous Munsey chief,^ 
Papunahung *^ with many of his people, attended the Indian 
Treaty at Easton, at the urgent request of the Mingoes. Many 
Quakers were present throughout the proceedings, and the women 
also were not absent. Susanna Hatton *^ and her companion, travel- 
ing on a preaching tour, joined the Philadelphia Quakers at Eas- 
ton and arranged a meeting with Papunahung's wife and eight 
other squaws. A scattering of braves escorted the squaws to the 
lodgings of the Friends. There was at the meeting "such a re- 
markable display of the tendering power of Divine Grace over 
the Indians that several Friends present declared that they never 
saw the like before." ^ 

Upon the conclusion of the Treaty, Papunahung despatched 
most of his followers back to their home at Wyalusing with 
the other Indians, and proceeded to Philadelphia accompanied by 
his immediate family and friends. In the party, or close on its 
heels, came also a few other converted Indians, led by Samuel 
Curtis, a Nanticoke chief from a spot about fifty miles above 
Wyalusing. Curtis was a convert of Papunahung and both had 
been sad drunkards in their youth. A year before this, Timo- 
thy Horsfield, a Moravian Justice of the Peace in Northampton 
County, Pa., had written Secretary Peters from Bethlehem of 
the contemplated visit: "I . . . inform you of this Trouble- 
some visit of y° Indian man Papoonham and Companions, 25 in 
number; they have three white children captives, and some Horses 
stolen from the Frontiers, which they are desirous to deliver to 
his Honour" (The Governor).^ 

The Indians visited the meeting of the Friends, one of their 
objects in coming to town. During their entire visit they behaved 
with great decorum. Mary, wife of Joseph Richardson [1711-1784], 
the Quaker silversmith, wrote her sister Hannah Allen, 19th. of gmo. 
1761, "We have had a visit from ye Friendly Indians: one of them 
spoke twice in our meeting. He behaved in a manner becoming a 
public speaker, and seemed full of love. I am informed his subject 

1 The name of this Indian Chief has many variations. 

'MS. Account in Boston Public Library [MS. room, Special Libr. G, 41, 17.] 
The picturesque names of the Indians in Papunahung's party at the Lancaster Treaty 
of 1762 may be found in Pa. Archives, IV, p. go. Nanticoke signifies "Tide-Water." 
They came originally from the eastern shore of Maryland. 

•Pennsylvania Archives. Vol. Ill, p. 74i- 


was the universal love of God, in that he was no respecter of per- 
sons, but had given of His good Spirit to Red as well as White, to 
instruct them. I was led to query, will not this heathen judge some 
that call themselves Christians?"' 

An important conference was held at the house of Anthony 
Benezet,* who lived on Chestnut street near Fourth. Benezet was 
one of those remarkable Frenchmen, descendants of the Huguenots, 
whose influence upon the Quakers has been greater than is yet un- 
derstood. John Woolman was present, and the notes which he took 
at the time still exist. They furnish the material used by Robert 
Proud," who quotes Woolman verbatim.^ Proud was also present. 
The memorandum written by Sarah Woolman upon these notes, indi- 
cates that they had been placed at ' the service of some one, doubt- 
less the historian Proud, for publication. The visitors remained in 
Philadelphia about a fortnight, and were accompanied on their return 
by several Friends who traveled part of the way with them. John 
Woolman may well have been one of these. Manuscript accounts of 
the entire visit and of the ride back to Bethlehem, embodying also 
a portion of Woolman's notes, are preserved : one is in the 
Boston Public Library, while another copy is in the archives of West- 
town School, Penna. The latter is probably by Anthony Benezet,* 
while the former resembles the hand of John Pemberton ; ' both were 
probably companions of the ride. 

The picturesque details of this interview might well offer 
material to the painter. In the neutral setting of Anthony Bene- 
zet's Quaker home, with the dignified and kindly Friends ready 
to aid and encourage them, stood or squatted the group of gaudily 
dressed and painted savages, gay in color and solemn of de- 
meanor, after the conclusion of each section of their address, 
placing with much ceremony in the hands of Benezet or Pember- 
ton, belts of the wampum with which their treaties were always 
sealed. John Woolman's notes on this occasion furnish the ma- 
terial for the accounts writen out in c.vtenso later, and copied. 
The interpreter is not indicated. He may have been Job Chil- 
away," Papunahung's companion on most of these excursions, 
or the Indian Commissioner, Conrad Weiser, usually employed 
by the Friends. 

The Indians did not long remain undisturbed at their Susque- 

^ Juliana R. Wood. "Family Sketches," p. 23. 

'Robert Proud. "History of Pennsylvania," II, p. 324. 

' Originals in Pemberton Papers, Historical Soc. of Pa., Vol. XIII, p. 23. 


hanna home, for two years later (December 1763) Papunahung 
and twenty-one of his people came to Bethlehem to share the 
protection given the loyal Indians upon the outbreak of Pontiac's 
conspiracy at the frontier. It was, however, in this interval, and 
not six months before the massacres, that John Woolman made 
his memorable visit to the Susquehanna country. 

Before setting out upon this Indian journey, however, there 
was one more duty to be performed at home, and the marriage 
certificate of William and Dido Been (Bowen) remains as fur- 
ther evidence of his brotherl)- care over the other dependent 

Moses Haines of Springfield, N. J,, had in his possession a 
negro slave named William Boen, — a man of excellent character, 
a faithful attender of meetings, and a convert of John Woolman. 
By intelligence and industry he had learned to read and write. 
His master had signed an agreement by which at the end of two 
years — April i, 1765 — he was to receive his freedom. At this 
time he was twenty-eight years of age. William's fiancee was a 
free negress in the employ of Joseph Burr, a cousin of John 
Woolman, who was a prominent Friend and minister of Chester- 
field. The two were very desirous to be married by Friends'' 
ceremony. The meeting accepted no negro members, and Wil- 
liam therefore laid his case before the negro's friend, sure of a 
sympathetic hearing. Woolman at once undertook preparations to 
carry out the wish of the couple to be respectably married, and 
wrote out the marriage certificate, with phraseology suitably 
adapted to the peculiar circumstances, which should make them 
legally man and wife, after the manner of the Quakers who had 
been their real friends. The "little meeting at a dwelling house," 
was undoubtedly held at Joseph Burr's, whose name heads the 
list of white signers to this unique document. His house was 
Dido's home. The certificate, entirely in Woolman's hand, is 
now the property of Mount Holly Monthly Meeting. It is dated 
"third day of the fifth month," 1763. Both the parties can write 
their names, but John Woolman signs for London and Catharine, 
parents of the Ethiopian bride. Below follow the names of those 
other negroes present, who had enough education to write their 
own picturesque names — Caesar and Primas, Daphne and Hagar. 
Opposite are the names of the Friends who attended to help 


legalize by their witness, the little ceremony. Both John and 
Sarah Woolman are among them.'^ 

This valuable and interesting document is altogether unique. 
Seldom was any ceremony of marriage gone through with among 
the negro race, and William and Dido wished to be married re- 
spectably. William's later history quite justified Woolman's 
care. He made an application to be received as a member of the 
Friends' meeting at this time, and was refused, entirely on the 
ground of color. He bore no malice, however, and remained a 
faithful attender, and preached for many years, chiefly to those 
of his own race. When a Friend asked if he was trying to follow 
in the footsteps of John Woolman, he quietly said, "I am endeav- 
oring to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ." At the age of 
seventy-nine, in 1 814, his patience was rewarded with member- 
ship, and he died, much respected, 6 mo. 12, 1824, at the great 
age of ninety. The Friends of Mount Holly issued a "Testi- 
mony" as to William's exemplary life. 

No efforts of Woolman were availing during his life time 
to have suitable Christian negroes admitted as members of 
Friends' Meetings. In 1828 Thomas Shillitoe visited Mount 
Holly and relates in his Journal ~ that he was there told of a 
minute made in 1763, objecting solely on the ground of color, 
to the admission of Boen to membership. John Woolman was 
present, and rising said that it was his duty to declare that be- 
cause of this partiality, now manifested by the Friends of his 
own meeting, "a sense was given him that the meeting would 
dwindle and be much reduced." 

In 1796 Philadelphia Yearly Meeting considered the ques- 
tion, never before formally recognized, of the admission of the 
"blacks" to regular membership. They were allowed to join 
"provided their conduct was consistent." Martha Routh, an Eng- 
lish Friend present at the time, says that the large Committee 
appointed reported favorably and there was no dissenting voice. ^ 
This delightfully picturesque marriage took place in the midst 
of Woolman's preparations for departure ; within twenty-four 

^ See Appendix. William has added below the births of his two children, Mary 
and William respectively, in 1764 and ^7(>9. An account of this negro may be found 
in Comly's "Friends' Miscellany," Vol. T, p. t8o, ff. 

2 Thomas Shillitoe. Journal. Vol, il, p. 283 [London, ed. 1839]. 

^ Rebecca Jones. Memorials, p. 232. Martha Routh. Journal, p. 458. 


hours after the marriage of WilHam and Dido he left for his 
memorable Indian journey. 

Wyalusing, a corruption of the Indian M'hwikilusing, or Ma- 
hackloosing, "The Place of the Hoary Veteran"'' occupies the 
site and retains the name of one of the oldest Indian settlements 
in America. In the time of Woolman, it was reached by the 
"Wyalusing Trail, a great Indian highway or path, not more 
than two feet wide, cut to the depth of some eighteen inches 
through the fragrant soil of the primeval forest by the soft 
moccasined tread of generations of red men. In single file, many 
a war party had swiftly and silently sped along its windings, 
while in times of peace, lingering hunters and braves, peeling off 
the bark from the great hemlocks and birches, had pictured 
upon the smooth skin of the exposed surface below, histories of 
Indian prowess in war and the chase, and boasted of their deeds 
in ideographic history. 

The route by which this highway crossed the eastern por- 
tion of the state of Pennsylvania was, roughly speaking, almost 
the bed of the present Lehigh Valley Railroad, running east of 
the river in the South and west of it on the North, and enter- 
ing Bradford County several miles west of the southeast corner 
of the boundary, passing Wyalusing in a northeast and south- 
westerly direction. The Towanda, the Minisink and the She- 
shequin trails were others in the same part of the state, but none 
were so deeply worn by travel, or so well known, as the Wyalu- 
sing Path. The Germans whom Conrad Weiser, on a Commis- 
sion from Philadelphia to the Onondaga settlement of the Iro- 
quois, in 1737, found trying to buy lands, were probably the first 
white men who had followed it.^ In 1743 John Bartram, the 
Quaker botanist, with Conrad Weiser and Indians as guides, ac- 
companied the explorer, Lewis Evans, over this same trail, and so 
far as is known were the first to travel on horseback through 
the "terrible Lycoming wilderness." ^ 

In 1745 the Iroquois, or Six Nations occupying the Gene- 
see country beyond, had been visited by two Moravian mis- 

^ Heckewelder. "Delaware Names of Rivers and Localities in Penna." "Susque- 
hanna" means "Winding River." 

^ H. C. Bradsby: "History ot Bradford County, Pa.," p. 54. 

" Ibid., p. 42. See also L. H. Everts and Co. "Bradford Co.," 14 ff. and Journal 
of J. Bartram. 

86 Till", JOURNAL Ol'" 1(MIN W(~)01.1\1AN chap. 

sioiuirios from Hcthlcheni, ilscU only three 3'e:irs old. Tliese 
were the I'rethren Aui^ust Gotllieh, afterward Bisiiop, Si>angen- 
heri:;, and Daviil Zeisherj^er,"' led hy the Indian Commissioner, 
(."imrad Weiser, willi [\\c C'a\n^a C"l\ief Sliikellaniy,' his son, and 
Andrew Montour'-' as i^iiiiles. 'riie\' wen( im a peacefnl mission, 
with the fnrther uhjecl uf uhlainini;- permission for their own 
Indian converts to settle in the Wyoming country. They par- 
tially Christianized the Indians at the Mnnsey village of Sheshe- 
(piin, a day's jonrney heyond Wyahising. Soon after, however, 
Ihe weaker tribes were exterminated by llie powerful lro(|nois, 
and for some years Wyalusing lay in ruins. 

In 1752 the JMnnsey Chief rapimaluing, who was a Moravian 
convert and had spent some time at Nain, the Indian village two 
miles from llethlehem set a[)art for these converts hy the Mora- 
vians, hrought his own and a few other families and rehuilt 
Wyalusing. The rich corn and grass lands lying near the mouth 
of the Wyalusing Creek were cultivated by the squaws, and by 
1760 there were t)ver forty huts in better condition than was 
usual with the Indians. John Woolman well describes them, 
jdli C'hilaway," a n,-i(i\i- West Jersey Indian from l.itlle ICgg 
Harbor, was the sachem's right hand man. Job's llnent I'.nglish 
kept him much in (k'm;md as inler])reler. His wife F.lizabeth, 
w;is sister to /\utb(in) .-uid Nathaniel,''' two n.ative Moravian eon- 
verts living near 'ruukluannock. In the spring of this year — 1760 
— the selllenieut was visited hy Christian Ii^rederic Post, the de- 
viited Moravian missinn.'iry. lie substantially aideil the 
(Jnakers through their Peace Associations, in keeping the In- 
di.uis friendly with the k'nglish. The li'xt for the sermon which 
he preached (o Pai]unaliung .and his ]ieople that May day so 
long ago is s.aid to have been S. T^ukc II, 8-n. The fact that 
Post calls this selllemcnt one of religious or "Quaker" Indians, is 
evidence of the intercourse which the h'riends had ke])t up with 
them and the innuence which they had exerted. A letter which 
Post appears to have sent the Governor at the hands of Papuna- 

' l'"or over tvvrnty y(';ii,s Ilic K".'' Imliaii Sliikflljnny nili-d llic lioiiiiois. TnRftlirr 

with Coiirnd Wiistr lit- |ir.irlii-;illy sitvi-d Uic colimy from niiiiniilalioii. A InlffC 

boulder h,is recently lieen creeled over Ihh Kr.ivc .it Sunbliry, suitably inscribed to 
his memory. 

"Ancillier C.-iiil.-iin w:is ;i sun of "M.uhiinc Minilnnr." Ilie n'ni.irltnblc 
French who sclllcd nnionK the Indiana of the Susquehanna, one of wliom »hc 
married; he waa a son uf Indian Deborah, 



'v. o 



%,./^.a?/o /ju A,f>-'^'^ .^^'O/^'f y-w^j 

/y'/V a. ■ ■/.//// 


/:/<■ /.'.' 


Notes by John Woolman at Interview with Papunahung. Last Page, 

with Addition by His Wife, 1761. 

In Possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


hung, when the first visit was planning, says, "I do not send 
these people down ; they have long had a desire themselves to 
go down to see their brothers, the English, so I have thought it 
proper to send them along." His companion, John Hays, writes 
in his Journal under May 19, 1760, "Arrived at a town called 
Ouitalosing (Wyalusing) ; the Governor's name, Wampoonham; 
a very religious, civilized man in his own way." ^ 

Awake to the spiritual needs of their converts, the Moravians at 
the Mother Mission of Bethlehem soon after the departure of Brother 
Post, appointed David Zeisberger " in special charge of the Indians 
at Wyalusing, and he spent much of the next two years in residence 
among them, and in making periodical visits and reports to his 
superiors.' The Indians, nevertheless, were for long periods left 
to themselves, yet Papunahung appears to have been faithful to his 
trust as "guide, philosopher and friend." 

Trade was constant and lively with Philadelphia, and it was in 
the spring of 1763 that John Woolman met one of the trading parties, 
who were in town at the time of the Friends' annual "Spring Meet- 
ing." Another source of information would also be the arrival of 
the occasional post from Bethlehem, whose official headquarters was 
at the house of John Stephen Benezet, (father of Anthony Benezet, 
the Quaker,) whose daughter was the wife of the Moravian merchant, 
Thomas Bartow.*' The religious awakening at Wyalusing among 
the red savages, for whose welfare John Woolman had long been 
solicitous, and who were now his personal friends, aroused a lively 
desire in his heart to visit them in their home, and he obtained the 
official approval of his meeting. 

There can be little doubt that it was the brothers Pemberton"* 
whose solicitous care sent the messengers to Mount Holly the night 
before his departure, with the warning that the Susquehanna Indians 
were again on the warpath. He set out, however, fearlessly, after 
making his usual careful preparations, on the sixth of June, accom- 
panied by Israel' and John' Pemberton and William Lightfoot,^ who 
did not intend to make the entire journey, and Benjamin Parvin,** 
his inseparable companion, who shared all the danger and eased the 
way. There were besides, several Indian guides. They went in 

1 Penna. Archives, Vol. Ill, p. 742; Vol. X, p. 736. 

^ David Zeisberger was perhaps the most remarkable of the many devoted Moravian 
missionaries in the colonies. Bishop de Schweinitz, in his "Life and Times of David 
Zeisberger" (p. 267, ff.), gives a graphic and interesting account of Pastor Zeisberger's 
two visits to Wyalusing at this time, the most dangerous period of its history. See 
also G. H. Loskiel, "History of the Mission of the United Brethren Among the Indians 
of North America." Vol. II, Ch. xv. 


company to Bethlehem, the beginning of the trail, and before enter- 
ing the dense wilderness, John Woolman sent back by John Pember- 
ton," the following letter to his wife : ^ 

da mo 

8: 6: 1763 about Sunset 

I am now at Bethlehem, a Moravian Town, and midling well, in 
company with John Pemberton," Wm. Lightfoot ^' & Benjamin Par- 
vin." John Expects to go toward home in the morning (it being 
now near night). William and Benjamin Expect to go forward to 
fort Allen on the Frontier. Then William Expects to turn home. 
And as to Benjamin — His mind at present seems so Engaged that 
he Shews no Inclination to leave me : I have had Some weighty 
Conversation with Him and let him know that I am quite free to go 
alone if his way does not appear clear to Him. My Indian Com- 
panions appear friendly & shew I think quite as much regard for me 
as they did at our first meeting at Philada. There is nothing to me 
appears aniways discouraging more than what Thou knew of when I 
was with thee. I am humbly ThankfuU to the Lord that my mind 
is so supported in a Trust in Him that I go cheerfully on my Journey 
and at present Apprehend that I have nothing in any way to fear 
but a Spirit of Disobedience, which I Trust through Divine Help 
I may be delivered from. 

That Pure Light which Enlightens every man coming into the 
World to me appears as Lovely as Ever, To the guidance of which 
I hope thou and I may Attend while we live in this world, and then 
all will be well. 

With Endeared love to thee and my Daughter &. my Dear friends 
and Neighbours I conclude thy most Affectionate 

Husband John Woolman. 

(Note in margin) My Companions Express a Sympathizing Love to 


"For Sarah Woolman." 

When William Lightf oot -* had reached home he wrote thus to 
Sarah Woolman: 

Esteemed Friend, 

Sarah Woolman 

I may hereby Inform thee that I met thy Husband at Samuel 
Foulk's" last 3d day Evening, and in Discourse Concerning the 

' Original, with that from Wm. Lightfoot, in IVoolman Papers, Historical Society 
of Pennsylvania. 


Journey, he exprest a Close Exercise which the News of the Troubles 
to the Westward had brought upon him. Signifying that in Case 
the Journey should be attended with Danger from an Enemy, he 
thought he could be much easier to go alone than to be Instrumental 
in bringing any into danger, who had no weightier motive to under- 
take it than to Accompany him, and as I never had resolved on going, 
it seem'd most easy for me to Decline it. Tho' not much on the 
account of Danger, having heard these reports some Time before 
without any great apprehensions of that, and am in Hopes that thy 
Husband & Benj. Parvin (who is gone with him), may Return safe 
again. I went with them about 20 Miles beyond Bethlehem and when 
I parted with them, (which was last 6th. day Morning) they seemed 
well and Cheerful. 

And tho' the journey may (illegible) . . . Occurrence, which per- 
haps may be a Close Exercise to thee on thy Husband's account, yet 
I hope thou may be Enabled to bear with Patience and Resignation 
the Dispensations that Providence may Permit thee to pass through. 
I conclude thy Sympathizing Friend, 

William Lightfoot, Jur. 

P.S. B. Parvin not having time to write thee, desired me to Remem- 
ber his love to Thee. 

Pikeland 6th. moth. 13, 1763. 

This letter is endorsed by John Woolman: "Letters Relating to 
the Journey amongst the Indians." 

Pastor Zeisberger," with Anthony" as guide, had reached 
Wyalusing May 23rd. He found that the Indians had been in 
council for six days ^ and had determined to embrace the tenets 
of the first Christian missionary who came to them. He re- 
mained at this mission but four days and returned at the end 
of that time to Bethlehem, with advices. The Moravians may 
have learned of the Quaker's intention to visit the Indians, for 
with their customary energy and astuteness, they despatched Pas- 
tor Zeisberger, with Anthony's brother, Nathaniel,*'' to conduct 
him back to Wyalusing, with authority to receive into the church 
all of those Indian converts who were really sincere. He set out 
June loth and reached his destination on the 17th, having over- 
taken and passed John Woolman and Benjamin Parvin" who 

' L H Everts & Co., Publishers. "History of Bradford County," p. 19. 


had a longer journey to travel and who reached Wyalusing the 
next day after Zeisberger. There is one letter existing, written 
in the wilderness : 

i6: 6. 1763 
Dear Fr'd 

We are now well near Wahalowsing in Company with Job Chila- 
way & Several Indians from Wahalowsing and Some from Else 
where who appear Civil & kind. 

John Woolman. 
the Company of B. Parvin is Comfortable to me. 

My dear and Tender Wife 

A Sence of Alsufticiency of God in Supporting those who trust 
in Him in all the Dispensations of His Providence wherein they may 
be tryed feels Comfortable to me in my Journey. 

My Daily Labour is to find a full Resignedness to Him and 

m(a)y say with thankfullness he Remains to be my Gracious Father. 

To Him I recomend thee, my Dear Companion, greatly Desiring 

thy mind may be Resigned to Him for I Veryly believe if we keep 

in this Frame all will End well. 

I write in Haste but Remember my Dear Daughter & fr'ds. 

John Woolman. 
(In margin: "Please send this to Wife.") 
Israel Pemberton 
in philada. 
to the Care of the 
Storekeeper at 
pr. Job Chilaway.* 

The Quakers had set out on the 6th and had spent twelve 
days on the way. One is better able to follow the hard travel 
of the little party since John Woolman is more explicit about 
this journey than any of the others made in America. He recog- 
nizes in his own account of the settlement at Wyalusing, the 
precedence of the Moravians, and does not act, except after con- 
sultation with Pastor Zeisberger. For three days the Mora- 
vian and the Quaker labored together, and Woolman, who held 
seven meetings, says, "Although Papunahung had before agreed 

1 Pemberton Papers. Vol. XVI, p. 98. 1762-3- Hist. See. Penna. 


to receive the iMoravian and to join with them, he still appeared 
kind and loving to us." On the 21st the Indians made their de- 
cision in favor of the Moravian faith, after the humble-hearted 
Quaker had departed, praying for the success of Pastor Zeis- 
berger. Five days later the baptism of converts took place, and 
Papunahung received the Christian name of John, being there- 
after known as John Papunahung,*^ or "Mmisey John." He was 
made a niissionary-assistant, and labored faithfully until his 
death at Schonbrunnen, May 15, 1775, at the age of seventy.^ 

The return journey was rather more quickly made, and AA'ool- 
man halted for his noonday meal, within seven miles of home, 
at his friend, John Smith's ^^ in Burlington, on the 27th, long 
enough to seize the opportunitj- to send a letter to Israel Pember- 
ton,^ with the message that he saw no sign among the "soberer 
sort" of Indians of disaffection toward the English. But Pember- 
ton's anxiety for John Woolman was amply justified in the 
massacres that were so soon to follow. 

Dear Friend, Burlington, 27*=' 6^° 1763 I o'clock. 

Through the Mercies of the Lord my Belov^ Companion and 
helpmate B: Parvin and I were helped to perform our Journey to 
Wahalousing and came back to Bethlehem on Seventh day night was 
yesterday at the Swamp ^Meeting and I lodged last night at John 
Cadwaleders ^" and am now hasting home — Our Journey though 
attended with much deep Exercise hath been greatly to our Satis- 
faction. We were at seven Religious meetings with the Indians 
many of which people I believe were in these troublous times greatly 
Comforted in our visit and they all appeared kind & Loving to us — 
I saw nothing amongst any of them in that place which to me appear* 
like disaffection to the English — but our Conversation was mostly 
with the soberer sort. The Moravian Preacher who was there 
when I went and contin'* there while I stay'^ appear'^ kind and cour- 
teous from first to last and I believe his intentions are honest. 

In a humbling sense of His goodness in whom my poor Soul has 
trusted, I remain with kind Love to thee and family and all my 
Dear fr« John Woolman 


Israel Pemberton 

in Philad'." 

iL. H. Everts & Co., Publishers, "Historj- of Bradford County," p. 19. The Diary 
of the JIoraTians who took charge of this Mission is still preserved at Bethlehem, Pa. 
2 Original in DeTonshire House, London. Portfol. 28, p. 95. 


A copy of this letter, in possession of Dr. John Woolman 
Churchman, of Yale University, adds a postscript, "I have the 
horse with me in pretty good order, & I expect to keep him well a 
while & send him." 

John Woolman reached home the same afternoon, greeted 
joyfully by his friends "all along" the road from Burlington, 
but he was careful lest he be "glad overmuch," and sought to 
remain in an humble frame of mind, thankful for his escape 
from great danger. Six weeks later Papunahung *^ was fleeing 
with his companions to Bethlehem for protection, and the friendly 
Conestogas were murdered at Lancaster by the Whites. 

A few days after his return, John Pemberton sought to 
obtain news of the Indian situation from John Woolman, and his 
letter to his brother Israel shows, as nothing else does, Woolman's 
complete detachment. 

Burlington, 7mo. 2. 1763 
Dear Brother — 

Yesterday, Mother & myself Spent with our Friend John Wool- 
man at his house : he looks better for his Journey, & is well satis- 
fied that he went. I asked him Several Questions respecting the 
Indians, &c. & he gave me what accounts he could, but he found in 
the Journey his Mind closely engaged to attend to the Concern he 
was engaged in, & cautious of Questioning the Indians, for Pruden- 
tial Reasons he Apprehended it might beget some Jealousies in the 
Minds of some & so Close up his way, or some reasons might be 
alledged which he was not Qualified to answer to, or that he could 
not Say anything to, without casting some blame on the English. His 
companion, B. Parvin, used more freedom, & can give better infor- 
mation. He allowed me the Liberty to preserve his Remarks on his 
Journey & to inclose them for thy Perusal: with this Request — 
that thou shew them to no other person, as he intends to Survey 
them again, &c, & please to return them Speedily : if thou forwards 
them here, directed to either him or me, they may get to his hands. 

Thou wilt perceive that Alarms had been sent among the Indians : 
they were preparing to leavfe Wyoming when he got there. Capt. 
Bull (or Jacob), he understood, intended up the Western branch of 
Sassquehanagh (Susquehanna) & the others proposed to Scatter 
themselves, some in One part & some in Another. He could not 
understand of what Nation, or who those Runners were that adver- 
tized the Indians near Wyalousin, but to Testify that what they said 


was True, they shew some Scalps they had. Job Chillaway ex- 
pressed much sorrow that he was obHged to be Absent, having to 
get Intelhgence to the Inhabitants to the Westward of those War- 
riors. The Indians seemed as much Concerned as any of us would 
be (as Jno: thought) & he tho't would join any Endeavour that could 
be tho't on to prevent the Spreading this Calamity: he did not appre- 
hend those who generally met Religiously together, would move from 
their habitations. 

On his Return to Wyoming, All the Indians Except an Old Man 
were gone. He was very Friendly, & asked after thee — but Jno. 
did not enquire his name. There were about 20 Men & Boys from 
Connecticut. He did not understand what they proposed in General 
— One Man Expressed his Intentions of returning & tho't to Set 
homewards the next Day: he did not Observe nor learn that they 
had any Satisfaction, but seemed Disappointed that many they had 
expected to Settle there with them had not come. He did hear (but 
knows not that it is more than Conjecture), that some Indians had 
a design to come in their Canows to take them by Surprize. 

John told me, if thou desired it, he would come to Town, but as 
he was particularly Cautious of entering into Enquiries, & heard 
little, he apprehended his Intelligence would be of little Service, & 
would rather avoid it. Thou may perceive from the Inclosed that 
he was fr'dly rec'd. In every place where they understood his 
Errand, were rejoyced & very kind, & he did not Perceive in any 
an Evil disposition towards the English. He desired his love to thee. 

I am thy affectionate Bro. 

John Pemberton. 
Papuna: Jno: Curtis &c. 
Desired Love to the Friends in 

It is interesting to discover evidence of the peaceful charac- 
ter of the New Jersey Indians in a communication to the Penn- 
sylvania Journal of September 15th of that year, (1763) : "Where- 
as a report has been spread that the Christian Indians in 
New Jersey under my care were many of them gone back to 
join the murdering Indians on the frontiers ; this is to inform 
and assure the public that such report is wholly without founda- 
tion ; that these Indians evidently discover a great abhorrence 
of the perfidious and inhuman proceedings of their remote Sav- 

' Pemberton Papers, Vol. XVI, p. 109. 1762-3. Histor. Soc. Penna. 


age brethren, and that there is not one of them missing, or that 
discovers a contrary temper. John Brainerd." 

The later history of the Wyalusing Indians is picturesque 
and brief. Two or three months only after John Woolman's 
visit, came the massacre at Wyoming and the Lancaster riot. 
The friendly Indians at Wyalusing were removed to Bethlehem, 
and some of them accompanied Papunahung *' to Philadelphia 
where they were sheltered and fed in the military barracks.' The 
Indians seldom failed, upon these expeditions, to visit Stenton, 
where for years they had been sure of a warm welcome from 
its venerable owner, James Logan. He had died in 1751, and his 
son and successor, William Logan, [1718-1776] a member of the 
Governor's Council, saw and entertained this party, for a letter 
from him to his brother-in-law, John Smith, '^ dated "gbr. 29, 
1763" says, "Papoonahal and part of his party came to town last 
night ; they have not as yet been heard by the Governor. Expect 
when they are, We may hear something Informing of Conse- 
quence. . . 20 Indians in all, Men, Women & children. One of y" 
Young Children born on y'' Road in y'^ Snow, yet y^ Mother 
traveled on & is Hearty!" ^ 

When peace came after a year and a half, and the Govern- 
ment enforced the removal of all Indians "beyond the limits of 
lands held by the white man by right of purchase," Papunahung 
succeeded in obtaining permission to return to their old home at 
Wyalusing. On April 3, 1765, eighty adults and ninety children 
set out from Bethlehem under the care of John Jacob Smick and 
David Zeisberger as pastors, and slowly made the journey in 
five weeks travel, losing by death on the way a woman and child. 
The Government gave the Indians aid vmtil the corn harvest, 
and the Society of Friends also contributed generously. 

Upon this second Moravian town the Brethren in Synod had 
bestowed the name "Friedenshiitten," or "Huts of Peace." Here 
they lived up to their peaceful claim until political complications 
and the rumblings of the coming American Revolution caused 
the settlement's abandonment in 1772. On June nth of that 

^ The British barracks, erected soon after Braddock's defeat, extended from Tam- 
many Court to Green, and from Second to Third streets in a hollow square. At this 
time they were occupied by several companies of Highlanders. [Tammany Court ran 
from No. 416 Buttonwood Street, south.] 

^ Ridgway Library, Phila. Smith MSS., Vol. VI, i7(;2-i76s. 


year the chapel, according to Moravian custom, was dismantled 
to prevent its desecration. The bell was taken down and hung 
in the bow of Timothy's canoe, at the head of the little water pro- 
cession, and was tolled by him "until the voyagers into the new 
Alleghany country to which they were removing, rounded a point 
of land, hiding forever from view the little village with its fifty- 
two "Huts of Peace." ^ 

When General Sullivan's expedition encamped at Wyalusing 
in 1779 no vestige remained of the old Indian village. The site, 
however, has in recent years been marked by a suitable stone in 
the meadow of Judge Salford's farm. 

> A fuller account of the Moravian Mission at Wyalusing is given by W. C. 
Reichel in "Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society," Vol. I. 




In the next few years there were journeys south and among 
the Friends of the counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania con- 
tiguous to Philadelphia. John Woolman and John Sleeper, ^° a 
minister and neighbor, both felt that when they went to the East- 
ern Shore of Maryland in the summer of 1766, they must travel 
on foot. Woolman wished to be brought into closer sympathy 
with the slave in his life of labor, forgetting the negro's more 
adaptable nature and the tropical climate of his native land. The 
intense southern heat wore him out and he suffered greatly. 
But he was "content." This visit had very definite results among 
the followers of Joseph Nichols, *° who believed in the immanence 
of the Holy Spirit and in testifying against all war. They de- 
clined to take an oath, and solemnized their marriages much as 
did the Quakers. William Dawson and James Harris, two of their 
neighbors, were the first to emancipate their slaves, and it is 
chiefly as active anti-slavery workers that they merit consideration' 
in connection with John Woolman. Dawson and Harris were 
assured by the public authorities of Maryland that there was no 
provision in the laws of that province or of Delaware, for such 
emancipation, but it was nevertheless accomplished. 

The examples of Dawson and Harris made such an impression 
upon their fellow-members, that the testimony against slavery 
was incorporated in their Rules of Discipline and it became a 
disownable offence even to employ a slave. Joseph Nichols *^ was 
the first man in his neighborhood to preach against slave-holding; 
yet, although the Quakers were otherwise in full sympathy with 
him and frequently invited him to attend their meetings, they 
refused to accept his teaching on this vital subject. The matter 
had reached a critical point at the moment when John Woolman 



and John Sleeper/^ in 1766, made their visit to Maryland, going 
on foot through the Eastern Shore region. The Quakers who 
had before refused to hsten to Nichols, received the testimony of 
the two Quakers from New Jersey, and the public records of 
that period in Maryland and its borders show a large number 
of resulting emancipations. 

A striking testimony of the "Nicholites" was in regard to 
plainness, since they refused to employ any dyes in their clothing, 
and would not mix either colors or materials. The women wore 
capes, the men hats, of undyed or natural, white wool. It would 
be interesting to inquire just how much this particular "Testi- 
mony" was in the thought of John Woolman when in 1762 he had 
adopted the white fur hat and undyed clothing.^ 

The following summer he took the Western Shore in the 
same manner on foot, but without a companion, and the "lonesome 
walk" tried his frail body but satisfied his spirit. Of this tour, 
Benjamin Ferris ^^ of Wilmington, Delaware, writes in his 
Journal : — 

"5 mo. 9th 1768 Our friend John Woolman attended our Quarterly 
Meeting-; his testimony there, as well as at our Monthly Meeting in 
Wilmington, though very close, was edifying and much to my satis- 
faction. I went to pilot him on his way to Maryland as far as the 
Head of Sassafras. His company and conversation were very in- 
structive, particularly an account of his exercises and singular trials, 
which he had a freedom to impart to me. In the 6th mo. he returned 
from Maryland and I was with him at Kennett Center and Chichester 
Meetings, in each of which his labour was very close and plain, yet 
to me it was edifying." " 

He seemed to be gradually clearing away the duties at hand, and 
the incident of the execution of the bond for the negro lad took 
place near this time, 1769. His efforts and the anti-slavery senti- 
ment of the Quakers were important factors in the attempt of the 
New Jersey Assembly to provide by law for a duty on imported 
slaves. In 1769 such a law became active, placing a duty of Fif- 
teen pounds on every imported slave sold in the Province.' Two 
letters, which he copies at length in his Journal, one without date 
and the other on the 9th of 7mo. of this year, appear to have 

"Friend's Miscellany. IV, pp. 241-267. 

' Friend's Miscellany. XII, p. 273. 

'Allinson's Laws, p. 315. N. J. Archives, IX, 346. 


been written with the weight, always growing on him, of the lack 
of true simpHcity in ordinary life: 

"Beloved friend;^ Since our last Conversation I have felt an in- 
crease of brotherly love, and therein a liberty to hint further to thee 
how at different times for years past, things have wrought on my 
mind respecting high living. 

In some affecting seasons abroad, as I have sat in meetings with 
desires to attend singly on the pure gift, I have felt that amongst 
my brethren, grievously entangled in expensive customs, the Lord 
hath a work for some to do in exampling others in the Simplicity as 
it is in Christ. II. Corinth. XL 3. As I have seen that a view 
to live high hath been a stumbling block, and that what some ap- 
peared to aim at was no higher, than many of the foremost rank in 
our Society lived, there hath been a labour upon me, that in this 
respect, the way may be cast up, and the stumbling block taken out 
of the way of the people. Isaa. 57. 14. And here the inexpressible 
love of Christ in denying himself & enduring grief for our Sakes 
is often before me, as an example for us to follow, in denying our- 
selves, of things pleasant to our natural inclinations, that we may 
example others, in the pure Christian life in our age. 

2. In regard to thieves, I have had many Serious thoughts, and 
often been jealous over myself, lest by withholding from a poor man 
what our Heavenly Father may intend for him through me, I should 
lay a temptation in his way to steal, and have often felt a care that 
no desire for riches, or outward greatness, may prompt me to get 
that in our house which may create envy, and increase this difficulty. 

3. I have sometimes wrote wills for people when sick and expected 
soon to leave their families, who had but little to divide amongst 
their children, and I have so far felt a brotherly Sympathy, that their 
cases have become mine, in regard to a comfortable living for them, 
and here expensive customs have often made the prospect less clear. 
Expensive customs on such occasions have often Affected me with 

4. The manner of taking possession of the Silver mines Southwest- 
ward, the conduct of the conquerors toward the natives, & the miser- 
able toyl of many of our fellow creatures in those mines, have often 
been the subject of my thoughts; and though I sometimes handle 
silver and gold as a currency, my so doing is at times attended with 
pensiveness, and a care that my ears may not be stopped against 
further instruction ; I often think of the f ruitfulness of the Soyl 
where we live, the care that hath been taken to agree with the former 

^ From Woolraan's copy, MS. A, p. 279 ff. 


owners, the natives, and the conveniences this land affords for our 
use : and on the numerous oppressions there are in many places, and 
feel care that my cravings may be rightly bounded, and that no wan- 
dering desires may lead me to so Strengthen the hands of the wicked 
as to partake of their Sins. I. Timo. 5c. 22v. 

5. In conversing at times with some well-disposed friends who have 
been long pressed with poverty, I have thought that some outward 
help, more than I believed myself a Steward to communicate, might 
be a blessing to them; and at such times the expenses, that might be 
saved amongst some of my brethren, without any real inconvenience 
to them, hath often been brought to my mind; nor have I believed 
myself clear with out speaking at times publickly concerning it. 

6. My mind is often on the immutability of the Divine being, & the 
purity of his judgments, and a prospect of outward distress in this 
part of the world hath been open before me, and I have had to 
behold the blessedness of a state in which the mind is fully subjected 
to the divine Teacher, and the confusion and perplexity of such who 
profess the Truth, and are not faithful to the leadings of it : nor have 
I ever felt pitty move more evidently on my mind, than I have felt 
it toward children, who, by their education, are lead on in unneces- 
sary expenses, and exampled in seeking gain in the wisdom of this 
world to support themselves therein." 

da mo 

9: 7: 1769. 

My dear friend — In our meeting of Ministers and Elders, I have 
several times felt the movings of divine love amongst us, and to me 
there appeared a preparation for profitable labours in the meeting: 
but the time appointed for publick meetings drawing near, a strictness 
for time hath been felt. And in yearly Meeting, for the preservation 
of good order in the Society, when much business hath lain before 
us, and weighty matters relating to the Testimony of Truth hath 
been under consideration, I have sometimes felt that a care in some 
to get forward soon hath prevented so weighty and deliberate a pro- 
ceeding as by Some hath been desired. 

Sincere hearted friends who are concerned to wait for the Counsel 
of Truth, are often made helps to each other, and when such from 
distant parts of our extensive Yearly meeting, have set their houses 
in order and thus gathered in one place, I believe it is the will of 
our Heavenly Father, that we with a single eye to the leadings of 
his Holy Spirit, Should quietly wait on him without hurrying in the 
business before us. 

As my mind hath been on these things some difficulties have arisen 


in my way; first there are through prevaiHng custom, many expences 
attending our entertainment in town, which, if the leadings of Truth 
were faithfully followed, might be lessened. 

Many under an outward shew of a delicate life, are entangled in 
the worldly Spirit, labouring to support those expensive customs 
which they at times feel to be a burden. 

These expences arising from a conformity to the spirit of this 
world, have often lain as a heavy burden on my mind, and Especially 
at the time of our Solemn meetings; and a life truly conformable to 
the Simplicity that is in Christ, where we may faithfully serve our 
God without distraction, and have no interruption from that which 
is against the Truth, to me hath been very desirable ; and my dear 
friend, as the Lord in Infinite mercies hath called thee and I (Sic) 
to labour at times in his vineyard, and hath, I believe, sometimes 
appointed to us dififerent offices in his work, our opening our experi- 
ence one to another in the pure feeling of Charity may be profitable. 

The great Shepherd of the Sheep I believe is preparing some to 
example the people in a plain Simple way of living, and I feel a 
tender care that thee and I may abide in that, where our light may 
shine clear, and nothing pertaining to us have any tendency to 
Strengthen those customs which are distinguishable from the Truth 
as it is in Jesus." ' 

The friendships of our Journalist were warm and permanent. 
Among these, in Rebecca Jones, ^^ John Woolman found a most 
congenial companion, upon whose strength of character and 
sanctified common sense he had learned to depend. They were 
both teachers, and her school for girls at 8 Drinker's Alley, in 
Philadelphia was in great repute. Her brother, Daniel Jones, 
had remained in the Church of England in which faith both of 
them were born, and was the leading Inn-keeper at Mount Holly. 
She was in the habit of spending a portion of her brief summer 
vacation with him, and with John and Sarah Woolman, for the 
benefit of the country air. John Woolman was a frequent visitor 
to Rebecca Jones's school, and often wrote the copies for her in 
his fine clear hand. "None but a philanthropist is fitted for the 
office of teacher," is the comment of the editor of her interesting 
Memormls} Many a modern school might profit by her "Rules 
of Conduct" , of which one was, "Make all your speeches to your 
mistress with due respect, observing cheerfully to perform her 

* "Memorials of Rebecca Jones," by Wm. J. AlUnson, ed. 


directions with despatch, according to your abihty. If a stranger 
should speak to you, give a modest and ready answer, standing 
up and turning your face towards them respectfully; take your 
seats again and silently apply to your business." 

These two Quaker philanthropists, together with another 
teacher, Anthony Benezet,^ were at this time deeply interested 
in the proper education of youth. The children of Quakers, espe- 
cially in the country neighborhoods, were lamentably deficient in 
their instruction. Many grew up ignorant of reading or writing, 
and documents of the middle and last quarter of the eight- 
eenth century are often signed by a mark. In 1746 a recom- 
mendation was made for the better instruction of Friends' chil- 
dren, but little came of it at the time. In 1750 the same thing 
happened, but a few Friends were laboring steadily for improved 
conditions. Among these was John Woolman. It is hardly 
likely that Woolman did not know Christopher Dock, the famous 
"Schoolmaster of the Skippack." There was frequent inter- 
course between the German Baptists on the outskirts of Phila- 
delphia and the Quakers. Dock came to America in 1714 and 
became a well known teacher. Christopher Sauer, the German 
pubhsher, in Germantown, of many Friends' books, persuaded 
him to write his "Schulordnung" in 1750, but for nineteen years 
it lay neglected. In 1769 Sauer's son urged him to publish it, 
and the little book appeared from the Sauer press in 1770. It 
has been called the earliest book in Pennsylvania on the subject 
of school teaching.^ Anthony Benezet * opened his school in 
1755, and his "Primer" is later, undated. But it is more than 
likely that Woolman's antedated both. Indeed Benezet's is 
modeled somewhat upon that of Woolman. A Quaker broadside 
issued about this time, or possibly in 1759, on the whole sub- 
ject of education, is interesting in this connection.^ 

How many people think of Woolman as schoolmaster? Yet 
for many years, in the intervals of his travels and while carrying 
on his business as a tailor, John Woolman was teaching. The 
"Testimony" of his Monthly Meeting says that Woolman "sev- 
eral times" opened a school "for Friends' children and others," for 
nothing exclusive ever found place in his spirit, and these are the 

1 The original is in the Historical Soc. of Penna. Cassel Collection. 

' Original in Collection of Quaker Broadsides, Haverford College Library. 


years when his Larger Account Book tells us clearly how he 
was engaged. It is the life of a busy man. There are accounts 
for teaching the children of Aaron Barton, and of his brothers, 
Asher and Abner Woolman ; Thomas Bispham, James Dobbins, 
John Sleeper,"- John Atkinson and many others.' The rate he 
charged for his pupils may be gathered from a memorandum for 
a small relative. The bill sent her father, Asher Woolman reads 
thus : 

da mo 
"To schooling thy daughter 2 of i, 1769 till f s d 
da of mo 

ye 29 5 1769: some diet 2 9 o 

da mo da mo 

29 5 1769 to II 9 1769 I. 2. 6 

da mo 
Sarah's diet to be reckoned from 11 9 1769." 

At the head of this book stand what at first may seem like 
some of his own pious reflections, but they are of uniform length. 
Cannot some of us recall days long ago when we toiled laboriously 
over our copy-book, vainly endeavoring to get the proper slopes 
and flourishes on the "T's" and the "G's," for instance, in some 
such sententious phrase as "To be good is to be happy" ; "The 
child is father to the man?" These lines in Woolman's book, in 
clear and bolder handwriting, are nothing more or less than his 
writing-book headings, from which he set copies for his small 
pupils. They are all original, and these are a few of them: 

"If anger burns, stand still. 
Meekness is a pleasant garden. 
Kindness in the heart feels pleasant. 
The wounds of a friend need no plaister. 
A lamb took by fraud is an ill sacrifice 
Religion without righteousness profits not. ' 
A rose in the Spring smells sweet. 
Let the dainty man try abstinence. 
An Easie Life, a delicious Cook, and the Doctor." 

Interspersed among the school accounts we find not only 
charges for spelling books, writing materials, ink powder and the 

^ These were all well-known eitizens of Northampton township. 


like, but the same page will contain the cost of grafted trees, 
hickon.- -wood for the meeting house, and jackets and trousers. 
For in spite of his remarks in the Journal about his disHke of a 
planter's life on a large scale, Woolman was an expert nurserj'- 
man as well as tailor. There are charges to his brother Abraham 
\A'ooknan for grafted trees ; to Robert Field for ninet\--t\vo apple 
trees at six shillings each, and for eighteen grafts at one shilling 
each. "\\"e find him making leatlier and ''ticken" breeches for 
his pupils and their fathers, and jackets of cloth for the mothers; 
while it is evidently little Sallie, boarding at his house, for whom 
he makes a "tliin coat" for four shilhngs, a pair of shoes for 
six. which may have been furnished by the itinerant cobbler who 
in those days made his regular rounds, and mittens for three and 
six. "The ticken breeches with buttons" for Aaron Barton's boy 
cost three sliilHngs ; leather breeches for his brother Abner were 
five shilhngs, and a small pair (probably mended) for Uttle 
Samuel are one sliilling. He cliarges Abner four and six for 
an under-iacket. and Abner's son John, "for a jacket and some 
trims," three and six. His swanskin ones, doubtless his best, are 
charged at ten and six. Buckskin breeches cost sixteen shilhngs. 
Asher's wliite shirt is seven shillings, and !\Ioses' leather breeches, 
one pound eight. The proportionate cost of materials may be 
judged from one charge — "to some Hay, to pay in Buttons," 
seventeen shillings. The average cost of a pair of leather breeches 
is one pound sLx. Xote too, that John Woolman is buying and 
using buttons, when some extremists of his day are "testifying" 
against them, albeit tlie testimony was chiefly against their use 
for ornament, not service. Some of the entries as they stand are 
as follows : 

Wm. Cox, at Fern,- i s d 

omo. 1761 By Ferrying- at twice o 2 4 

1-61 Henry Burr, Son of Joseph 

^mo. To writing 2 Small deeds 10 6 

John ^^'right, Son of Ezekiel 

6mo. 1766 Pair leather breeches i 10 

8mo. 1767 By Ann Morris passage to and from Phila. 

worthe I suppose 4 

104 Till-: UniRNAI. OV JOHN W'OOl.MAN ciiai'. 

SilMlllcl Hiulil C S (1 

_liiio. j8 1767 To Siirvcyinj;^ & Siiiulrv wiitiuj^s ou 3 

(Bio. Jolin J{iiiUl to ii:iy p;irl) 

Thonuis llispliaiii 
.yuo. 1768 To Schooling tliy oliililrcii o 10 8 

Will. Jones 

6 8 i7()8 ']"o Smvoviiig & VVriliiij; a IH'i'il 10 

Joseph l.ippincoU 
1 4 I7()8 Appio Trees for thy son Ahraliaiii 

Ivicliard I'crry 
Mack' Shoes I'or Mary & .Soiileil a pair for Wife Siiio. 1768 

1769 Ahrahaiii Woohnaii 

1 doz. C'oat Hiilloiis I 

6 prininiers o I 3 

& Trees 
14 10 '70 Hy C'eihir l.ons at llie .Swamp as many as made 

I5;.^ feet hoard measure 2 12 6 

Aaron .Smith 
1768 To some Twist 
■J I76(> t'oiitva. Ity WorU at Mary's hat 026 

I'^arl .Shiim 

25 4 1761) To sehooliii)^ Ihy Child 7 6 

s d 

To Measiiriiif; 2 lots of rie at 1 (> per lotl.. 

3 4mo. Contra do. Hy horse to Hiirhiinlon 1 1; 

" Mansfield I 9 

7 81110 liiirliiiKton I 6 

25 i2ino " a fat fjoose 2 10 

1770 Do. 

21 I By making a Tliiii};; to slop Cliimney 9 

" a day's work of I'riiiiiis (negro) 

Natt JiihiiH 
16 7 1761J pd. per wife liefore ye weding 05 ij/j 



Benjamin Ferris Jr. £ s d 

(No date) To Cash toward John Griffith's Book i 7 6 

<< " " « >l (1 T T » 

I 14 

" 4 doz "Considerations on Keeping Negroes" 
delv'd to thee 

3mo 1769 James Dobbins 

To schooHng thy son 8 2 

14 7 1770 To a pair of leather breeches 160 

3 8 1768 By a piece of Offel (offal?) old Iron to put 
in the oven's mouth, weighed ilb. 90Z. I 
think worth 3 

John [HJatkinson 

3 1769 Writting a Deed 6 

4 To Schooling thy children I 4 8 

13 4 1770 To 50 primmers o 8 4 

(There is a memorandum of J. Atkinson as Guardian for the children 

of Thos. Budd, Estate of J. Atkinson, dec'd, 1770.) 

Josiah White 

5 1769 For schooling Mary 5 3 

II 1770 To Boards had by thy Tenant (Sofoot) o 6 8 

"more (foot) 11 

" A small house taken from Mother's Lot 5 10 o 

By Calamus water & metheglin i 4 

21 3 1771 By cash toward House i 10 

30 5 " " agen, yl6. Cash £1 i 7 6 

Samuel Gaunt 
18 8 To I Brass Kettle for which it was agreed to pay 

forty pounds of cheese paid for. 

1769 James Southwick 

Summer Rent of meadow, hay, &c I o 6 


16 7 To making 2pr. linen breeches o 4 o 

Had corn for it 

Francis Dawson 

1769 To a pair of leather Breeches for David Jess, for 

8mo which thou agreed to pay in grain I 10 o 

1770 Same 

9 10 By 1850 bricks hailed from Rodgerses il 


From these homely but most interesting entries one gains, 
as would otherwise be impossible, a lively impression of the daily 
life of John Woolman. The last item probably relates to the 
building of Mary's new house, for which preparations were mak- 
ing. The bill for this house is in Woolman's hand, and it is in- 
teresting to find from it, and from these charges, the names of 
most of the people employed in its construction. For instance, 
Thomas Conarrow was the mason. Thus we find — • 


3 12 I paid the bal. due to T. C. to Jonah Woolman on a discompt. 

Cr. by 17 Waggon load of Stone computed to be £ s d 

20 perch at 6 per perch 6 o o 

Adam Forker was another workman. He made the hour- 
glass, and evidently did the glazing in the new house. Wil- 
liam Calvert ^' was a tenant for some years of Elizabeth Woolman 
in her Mill Street house, and John Woolman keeps the account 
as he receives the rent for his mother. Some of the entries under 
William Calvert's name run thus : 

"William Calvert 

da mo £ s. d. 

8 3 1769 By 6 yards Camblet O 12 

124 " " I Ivory Comb o I 6 

" 75 Sheets primmer o 3 9 

22 4 " I Looking-glass o 5 

49 " I Copper Kettle 2 16 

21 I 1770. To I Quarter's rent 015 

13 4 1770 To 100 Primers from B. Ferris (forward) 

21 4 1770 To I Quarter's Rent 15 o 

21 7 1770 To I Quarter's Rent o 15 o 

From 2ist. 7mo. 1770 Wm. Calvert, by agreement, 
to pay I2S. p. Quarter for the Shop 

£ s. d. 

4 10 To 23/2 Bush, winter Apples; had worked for y". .. o o o 

To ye Bricks in ye old Chimney o 10 

2110 To I Quarter's Rent 12 


//.'/ fPnot r^ Crl nt >i_ 

/Ar.v /f./fl ///If /iVZ/y ,t,,^rt /^rJUf-rr L 

— a — ■'— - "" : ^:^ — y *- * 


i^ AV//)^.^^ /r,^ /u^ /^// ^/'r'Jvh &A1/1 ^^fJ 

Specifications by John Woolman for Brick House for his Daughter, 1771. 
Now the Woolman Memorial, Mount Holly, N. J. 


u ^ 



f s d 

21 I 1771 To I Quarter's Rent 12 

184 To writing small deed 4 

21 9 " 3 Quarter's Rent 116 o 

About nineteen day's rent 2 o 

" An order on Danl Offley accepted 14 9 

John Woolman's brother Abner died. He notes — 

£ s d 

"To Abner's Estate due to Bal 2 12 10 

Paid Earl Shinn for a Cofin to bury the Corps of Abner. . . i 

There is now due to Abner's Estate i 12 10 

28 2 1772 I gave Credit on Abner's bond i 2 o 

Mary, Abner's Widow 

6 I 1772 To Jacket for Asher o i 6 

" Sheepskin breeches for do o 5 6 

Cr. Mary, by some old leather o 7 


These accounts show the schoolmaster writing deeds, advertise- 
ments for sales, or "vendues," as the country folk called them, 
and measuring grain for the farmers, as well as surveying their 
lands. He sells stone from his quarry, and in return is carried 
over William Cox's ferry. Aaron Barton, the weaver, does 
weaving in return for his child's schooling, and James Dobbins 
makes the exchange of the piece of "offel" iron for teaching his 
son. Twenty-eight pounds of flax are delivered to Bathsheba 
Barton, Aaron's wife, for weaving. 

Is it possible to imagine John Woolman in his school ? Let us 
place ourselves for the moment in Mount Holly in the year 1765. 
These are stirring times in the political and social world. The 
Stamp Act has stirred the Colonies; Franklin is abroad, striving 
for relief. Dr. Fothergill, in London, is corresponding vigor- 
ously with Woolman's close friends, the Pembertons, on behalf 
of peace, and incidentally is a founder of the great Pennsylvania 
Hospital. The religious world has been stirred by the simulta- 
neous visits of George Whitefield in Presbyterianism and Samuel 


Fothergill ^ in Quakerism, and the air is full of new ideas, of 

revolution, of progress. Not a breath do we get of all this in 
Woolman's remarkable Journal. Like the classic that it is, written 
for any time or for all time, it notes none of these things, and we 
may see the gentle, frail teacher in his undyed garments, patiently 
guiding the childish hand of his httle pupils, while, unnoted by 
each, Revolution is gathering in the air. 

There were many country Friends settled about the village on 
their "plantations," as they preferably called their farms, and 
great distances were trudged by the small pupils on the hot sum- 
mer days, for long vacations were not in the minds of the good 
Friends. We do not know whether the lessons were recited at 
Woolman's own house, at the meeting house, or at the near-by 
school. Occasionally perhaps at all three. The charge for 
Sally's "diet" indicates that she lived for a little time with her 
uncle. If so, a privileged little girl was she. The gentle school- 
master is tender and sympathetic, for what he thought of educa- 
tion he wrote down in 1758." The late William Nelson, of the 
New Jersey Historical Society, considered Thomas Powell's school 
in Burlington, 1767, to have been the earliest co-educational in- 
stitution in America. It is certain that in New Jersey, at least, 
John Woolman preceded him. 

Diligent search has been made for the "Primer" of John 
Woolman. Thus far the only copy found is in the Friends' 
Library at Devonshire House, London. This is the third edition, 
undated. The average reader does not associate such a book, 
with Woolman, who makes no reference to it in his Journal. It 
is entitled : 

"A/ First Book for Children/ 
Much useful reading being sullied and torn/ by children, in 
Schools before they can read,/ this Book is intended to save un- 
necessary ex/pence. By John Woolman." 

This third edition, enlarged, was published in Philadelphia by 
Joseph Crukshank, Third St., and sold also by Benjamin Ferris 
in Wilmington. It is a tiny 48 mo. These are the "Primmers" 
noted in the Accounts. The date given by Joseph Smith (Cata- 

* Whitefield's and Fothergill's Biographies throw light on this period. 
^ "Considerations on Pure Wisdom," &c. 


logue of Friends' Books) is 1774. This is much too late. Wool- 
man's primers were selling in 1769, as his Account Book shows, 
and were undoubtedly written some years before. John Comly 
[1773-1850] says of 1780 in his Journal [Chapman :Phir. 1883, 
p. 8.] "I believe the first book put into my hands was Wool- 
man's or Benezet's Primer." It is curious that no copy of the 
first edition has survived.^ 

This period — the late sixties — finds our Journalist more un- 
interruptedly engaged in teaching than at any other time, and 
we are led to suppose that frail health was the cause. In 1770, 
he was suffering from what he describes as a "lump on his nose" 
for which he had been "dieting" himself for several years. We 
are left to surmise its nature, yet, if it so depleted his system in 
the evident weakness of the two remaining years, as seems to be 
the reading between the lines, we cannot help fearing what might 
have been the result of a modern diagnosis. This may have been 
one of the causes for that peculiarity of appearance which all 
his friends without exception, ascribe to him. Yet such a trying 
"thorn in the flesh" he accepted as a "fatherly chastisement" 
from his Master. In any case, the long journeys afoot had 
sorely taxed his strength. 

While in this depressed physical state, the thought of another 
call from home roused his fear lest the "disagreeableness of the 
prospect" might be likely to deter him. The sale of the negro 
lad still weighed on him, and the retail trade in West India prod- 
uce in which he had once been engaged, preyed on his mind. He 
finally resolved to use the "outward substance" he had thus gained, 
in paying his passage to the West Indies on a religious visit, and 
yet, — could he find himself free to engage passage on one of the 
great traders? The profit all came from the product of slave 
labor. Hamilton of Pennsylvania wrote that at this period he 
found "a very great part of the principal merchants of the City 
(Philadelphia) engaged in a trade with the French Islands in 
the West Indies." ^ The wealthy Quakers of Philadelphia were 
many of them in this trade in sugar, rum and molasses.^ Promi- 

^Benj. Ferris died in 1771. The date is tlierefore prior to tliat. 

'W. T. Root. "Relations between Penna. & Great Britain, 1696— 1765," p. 82. 

^ News of the passage of the Sugar Act of 1764 had come to tlie Colonies simul- 
taneously with that of the Stamp Act. Opposition was great, particularly in the 
northern colonies depending on a flourishing foreign trade. Tlie Sugar Act was a 
piece of class legislation in favor of the British Sugar Islands. 


nent among these was James Pemberton,' and knowing that his 
brother John was seeking Hght on the matter, Uriah Woolman ^^ 
wrote him that one of the Pemberton traders was in port. In 
the family papers ^ the following interesting letter has come to 
light :— 

da mo 

II II 1769 

Belov'd Frd. 

I rec'd last Evening a letter from my brother Uriah wrote at the 
request of James Pemberton informing me that James hath a Vessel 
in port which he expects may Sail for Barbadoes the latter End of 
this month or beginning of next. 

I know not but that I may look toward this Vessel for a passage, 
but am desirous to inform thee of this my information, as thou 
Exprest a brotherly care for me respecting a passage. 

I remain thy 
Loving frd, John Woolman. 
John Pemberton 
in Philad". 

The solicitude of the brothers Pemberton is evident with all three, 
for a few days later John Woolman is writing Israel Pemberton, 
under date, "da mo 

"17 II '69 I yesterday saw a Mattress, and have 
this Morning agreed for some coarse wool, and expect to make one 
at home. I feel gratefulness toward thee for thy kind offer, but 
believe to make one may be best for me. 

thy loving frd, 

John Woolman." ' 

Reuben Haines,^^ his cousin, living on High (now Market) 
Street, near Fourth, in Philadelphia, was his financial adviser, 
and at his house John Woolman usually made his home when in 
the city. His private accounts show that a year before this, he 
had placed in the hands of this faithful friend and relative, a sum 
of money, increased six months later, to be used for this journey. 
Following is the record : 

^ Pemberton Papers, Vol. XXI, p. 85. Historical Society of Penna. 
'Ibid., p. 87. 


1769 Reuben Haines, Dr. 

da mo f s d 

28 3 To cash left in thy Hands to be ready for me when 

I want it 6 _ _ 

da mo 

29 3 To Cash left in thy Hands to be ready for me when 

I want it 4 _ _ 

da mo 
I II To more Cash sent by Wm. Calvert 10 - - 

20 - - 
da mo 

25 3 '70 Cr. Cash £2. Note for £18. 

Thus completely ready was the faithful Woolman when he 
visited James Pemberton ^ and handed him his Testimony as to 
the evils of the West India trade. His own account is quite de- 
tailed here. The submission, he felt, was accepted of his Master. 
He returned home, after waiting across the river until the ship had 
sailed, and even then, became as a "sojourner," he says, in his 
own family.^ 

As the year closed, overtaxed and worn out, he fell ill of 
pleurisy, and his life was despaired of. He was highly delirious, 
and in moments of consciousness told those about him that he was 
quite resigned to die. He was carefully attended, and his friends 
took turns in sitting up through the night with him. The fourth 
morning of the New Year (1770), as the dawn broke, his friend 
Caleb Carr ^^ was sitting beside him. The ill man desired to 
dictate, and bringing the Larger Account Book, his friend took 
down the much quoted passage which John G. Whittier regarded 
as prophetic of the late Civil War. It may rather be considered 
as a mystical expression of the foolishness of the human mind in 
supporting injustice. A week after he again dictated, and gave 
us his classic aphorism on Prayer as a precious habitation, etc. 

The old Account Book contains many a memorandum, but 
there is nothing in it more interesting than the following, on a 
blank leaf, in the hand of John Woolman's daughter, Mary. The 
occasion was probably a little meeting held in the ill man's bed- 
chamber : 

'Compare the almost parallel experience of John Churchman, in 1761, in regard 
to the Barbados. See Journal of J. C, pp. 205-6. 


"I feel a pure and Holy Spirit in a weak & broken Constitution : 
tiiis Spirit within me hath suffered deeply and I have born my part 
in the Suffering, that there may come forth a Church pure & Clean 
like the New Jerusalem, as a Bride Adorned for her husband. I 
believe my Sufferings in this broken Nature are now nearly Accom- 
plished, & my Father hath Shewed me that the holy Spirit that now 
works within me, may work in young lively Constitutions & may 
strengthen them to travel up & down the world in the feeling of pure 
Wisdom, that many may believe them & the purity of their Lives & 
learn Instruction" — ■ 

"Taken from the Mouth of my Father as he uttered it in my 
hearing on a first day meeting while (illegible) . . . ing." 

John Woolman himself, probably after recovery, has added 
da mo 
to this the date — "7: i: 1770," and the comment, "I believe it 
will be felt by feeling living Members, that that which hath been 
uttered by my lips has proceeded from the Spirit of Truth, Operat- 
ing on Mine Understanding, & I meddle not with the Fever." 
The Journalist, even in his delirium, uttered what, with his re- 
covered balance, he could freely endorse. But the disease pro- 
gressed, and another watcher writes : 

"On 7th. day Morning about ye 3d hour, ye 13th of ye ist Mo. 
1770, John Woolman having for Some time Iain like a man a Dying, 
did then call for Water to Wet his tongue for it was Dry, and he 
wanted to Use it, and then told us then present, that the forepart 
of the Same night he had very Great horrours on his mind for 
Departing from the purity of his Testimony, in relation to the West 
India trafick. 

"Under this Anguish of Soul, Evident to all about him, he Stood 
up on his feet, tho' week, and with a Lamentable Voice Cryed 
mightily to God that he would have Mercy upon him, a Miserable 
Siner for that he had Lately, under Extream weakness, given up the 
purity of his Testimony against the West India trade. In partaking 
freely of rum and Molasses; After long Conflict with these Horrors, 
he appeared more Easy, as believing God would be gracious to him. 
He now informed us he had found the mercys of God to be toward 
him, and that he had an Evidence of Inward Peace, and that God 
had Excepted of his great conflict with the power of darkness the 
fore part of this Night. 


Uttered by John Woolman's lips and wrote by Aaron Smith." 

This is fastened into the English Journal on one of the in- 
serted leaves, and preceded by another page also in the hand- 
writing of Aaron Smith, which is quite different from any other 
in the book. Below is probably a memorandum of the Friends 
present at one of the little meetings held in John Woolman's bed- 
room during his severe illness. It runs — 

"the following Friends are 
Desired to meet at the house 
Of John Woolman at 10: o'clock 

Thos. Hatkinson ( ) 
and wife, if well enough 

Henry Paxson'" and wife 

John Bispham '" and wife 

William Calvert and wife'" 

Josiah " and John White " 

John Sleeper^ and wife 

Aaron Smith was son of Francis and Rachel Smith, of Mt. 
Holly, and on iimo. (January) 2.2 1753 married Mary, daughter 
of Silas and Mary Crispin of Burlington, at the latter place. (Bur. 
Rec's., B'k A. 203.) An interesting story is told of the Revolu- 
tionary soldiers from whom Henry Paxson rescued the family 
Bible of Aaron Smith as they were kicking it down the street. 
He was a member of Mount Holly meeting. The little group that 
met for worship with John Woolman in his bedchamber were all 
near neighbors and intimate friends. Thomas Atkinson was Wil- 
liam Calvert's father-in-law. 

During his convalescence Woolman wrote the following: 

da mo 

20: 1 : 1770 The Customary use of 
Silver Vessels about houses hath deeply 
affected my mind of late years and under a 
living Concern I have frequently laboured in 
Families and Sometimes more publicly, to 
disswade from the use of those things, in which 
there is a Manifest Conformity to Outward shew 
and greatness. And this Morning my Understand- 


ing being opened in pure Wisdom, I felt a Necessity 
to write that which is the Council of the Lord to this 
Generation respecting these things. 

He that can receive it, let him receive it. There 
is Idolatry committed in the Use of these things, and 
where this is the Case, If they are sold, they may 
be Idols to others. The example of Jacob 
is to be followed by such who would come 
forth in pure Council. 

His household had Idols amongst them. The 
Lord call'd him to a pure Worship at Bethel. 
He prevailed on his household to put away their 
Idols, and he hid them under an Oak. Gen. XXXV. i. 

John Woolman." ' 

Silver service had become a trial to John Woolman, but the 
plate still in use in the families of descendants of his intimate 
friends shows how frequently he must have encountered it. John 
Smith's ^^ own autograph "Account of my wrought silver plate," 
which included the Logan tea service, is dated i mo. 1764, and is a 
long, and imposing list.^ It was probably at his house that Wool- 
man wept when a silver goblet was handed him. Dinner was 
served in those days, in the plainer homes, in one course on loaded 

The interval between this illness of 1770 and Woolman's 
departure for England would be a blank but for the details of 
the Larger Account Book. This is inscribed "John Woolman's 
Book, 1769." Within is the memorandum of the purchases of 
"two leather books," and there is every reason to suppose that 
they are this quarto, and the large folio into which he copied the 
Journal, and which has here been uniformly referred to as "Man- 
uscript A." The few dates which precede this appear to be under 
the names of people with whom Woolman then had a running 
account, and were repeatefl from a previous copy.^ During the 
winter of i769-'70 and the following year at intervals, Woolman 
was occupied with the task of copying his Journal in fair hand 
for the printer. How well he accomplished it not only the world 
knows, but those whose pleasant task it has since been to examine 

* From the original, in tlie Library of Swarthmore College, Pa. 

' Smith MSS. Vol. VI. 1762-1765. Ridgway Branch, Philadelphia Library. 

^ This copy has just been found. See Appendix, note. 


the manuscript and observe his neatness and care. The Account 
Book gains an added interest from the fact that it is made en- 
tirely from the stamped paper of the Revolution. There was 
originally a stamp on every fourth leaf — forty five in all. Few 
of these have been left, and of 'them, none are perfect, due to 
the close trimming for binding, which is still very good. The 
missing stamps have sometimes been sold. A memorandum in 
another collection tells us, curiously enough, on the authority of 
the "Springfield Republican" for February 24, 1888, tliat a single 
stamp from this collection fetched twenty dollars in a New York 
auction ! 

After his illness, Woolman wisely returned to his garden and 
orchard. He writes of his nursery, 

four days after he had called for his money left with Reuben 

"da mo 
Haines," 29 3 1770" "Grafted near the Southwest corner of my 
Nursery, about 4 joynts of fence North of the corner, about 30 
Molasses Sweetings." 
da mo 
"12 4, grafted 2 short rows of Newark sweeting (a winter apple) 
the north row the longest. Stands about 15 foot from the west side 
of the Nursery (and Extends Eastward) near the Middle of the 
Board fence on the ditch bank." "4mo. Grafted Sundry short rows 
in divers parts of my Nursery with a good Winter Sweeting." It 
may have been at this period that a friend, walking through his 
orchard with him, exclaimed, "That tree is full of caterpillars." 
John Woolman turned, carefully examined the tree, and said, "No, 
not quite full !" 

In the spring, while visiting at Crosswicks, soon after his 
recovery, Woolman had a dream which he relates at the conclusion 
of his Journal. The old smoke-house still stands in excellent con- 
dition. The friend, a direct descendant of Thomas Middleton,''* 
who recently visited it with the editor, wondered whether the two 
ministers had not partaken of the bacon at supper, the night 

"The Fox and the Cat: A Dream. 

On the night between the 28th. and 29th. smo. 1770, I dreamed 
a man had been hunting, and brought a living Creature to Mount- 


holly, of a inixt breed, part Fox and part Cat; it appeared active in 
various Motions, especially with its Claws and Teeth. I beheld, and 
lo ! Many people gathering in the house where it was, talked one to 
another, and after some time I perceived by their talk that an old 
Negro Man was just now dead, & that his Death was on this Wise. 
They wanted fiesh to feed this Creature, & they wanted to be quit 
of the Expence of keeping a man who, through great Age, was unable 
to Labour; so, raising a long Ladder against their house, they hanged 
the old Man. 

One woman spake lightly of it, and signified she was seting at 
the Tea Table when they hanged him up, and though neither she nor 
any present said anything against their proceedings, yet she said at 
the Sight of the Old Man a dying, she could not go on with Tea 

I stood silent all this time, & was filled with Extreme Sorrow 
at so horrible an Action, and now began to Lament bitterly, like as 
some Lament at the Decease of a friend, at which Lamentation, 
some smiled, but none mourned with me. 

One man spake in justification of what was done, and said that 
the flesh of the Old Negro was wanted, not only that this Creature 
might have plainty (sic), but some other Creatures also wanted his 
flesh, which I apprehended from what he said were some Hounds 
kept for hunting; I felt Matter on my Mind, and would have spoke 
to the Man, but Utterance was taken from me and I could not speak 
to him. Being in great distress, I continued waiting till I began to 
wake, and opening my Eyes, I perceived it was Morning. 

And when I got up, I told this Dream to my Beloved Friend, 
Thomas Middleton," at whose house I lodged ; who then told me that 
this same Night he dreamed that being with his Wife on the further 
side of a Run of Water which is on his Plantation, they were coming 
toward the house and the Run had overflowed its Banks, but they 
came over on a Log, and then he saw a Ruinous old House, which 
he had not seen before. He observ'd some Iron Hinges on the 
Door, which, as it stood on his Land, he thought of geting ; but on 
an Examination, found they would not answer his purpose, and left 
them. And looking into the House, he saw a great quantity of Bacon 
& understood this House was a Smoak-house, built by a Merchant, 
since dead, and that the Bacon belonged to some Persons now living; 
He observed one whole Creature with its hair all taken of (sic) and 
thought it had some resemblance of Bacon, yet it appear'd to stand 
upon its feet, and there was in it some resemblance of a living 

He said he examined the Bacon and found it was tainted. 


(Note on the margin) : "A Fox is Cuning; A Cat is often Idle; 
Hunting represents Vain Delights; Tea Drinking, with which there 
is Sugar, points out the Slavery of the Negroes, with which Many 
are oppressed to the Shortening of their Days.'" 

An examination of the charges for building the brick house 
for his daughter Mary, in 1771 shows a negro called "Primas" in 
Woolman's service. It is a coincidence in names to find, early 
in the Account Book of Thomas Hazard of Narragansett, R. I., 
the entry : 

"Priamus, a Negro Boy, Came to live with me at my House the 
week after ye General Election Held at Newport for General officers 
of the Colony of Rhode Island in the year one Thousand Seven 
Hundred and fifty seven being six years old the October following 
the s'' Election which was held in the May before." 

This boy lived in Narragansett until he came of age, when 
his life of adventure took him to sea, and he was in Philadelphia 
at the time of the British occupation. This Primas was befriended 
by John Pemberton, whose letter to his former master, Thomas 
Hazard, still exists.^ John Woolman's "Primas" had a happier 
fate than his New England namesake. On the records of St. 
Michael's and Zion Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, for February 
I5< ^1^'^! stands the marriage by Heinrich Muhlenberg, of 
"Primus," and "Polly" Head, negro servants." As it was the 
custom for the slave to take the family name of the master, 
Polly probably belonged to John Head, the shipmaster and mer- 

Quietly, however, all this time, in John Woolman's mind was 
taking shape the plan for his departure from home on the journey 
from which there was to be no return, although as yet, he only 
felt that it must be done when the right time came. Meanwhile 
he is arranging his affairs, is building Mary's house and collecting 
money due him. He made an arrangement with his brother Asher 
for a nursery of trees. The land was laid out and the survey is 
described. Asher is "to have the ground the trees grow on for 

• MS. A., pp. 223, 224. 

■ The original letter is in possession of ex-President Caroline Hazard, of Rhode 
Island, who quotes it in her "Thomas Hazard, son of Robert," called "College Tom," 
p. 82. The memorandum by John Comfort in the Larger Account Book shows a 
Primas Williams employed by him in June, 1777. 


4 years from the 25 of 4mo. 1771, to pay me for them six 
Pounds ten shillings in two years from the above date. The trees 
to stand at owner's risque." A note on the margin reads : "Asher 
agreed to buy trees out of my nursery, and give up this distant 
bargain." Was it prophetic, this cancelling of the "distant bar- 

During this summer came a visitor from England whose 
presence was likely to confirm any feeling that led John Woolman 
toward Great Britain at this time of profound social unrest. 
Samuel Neale ^^ (1729-1792) of Dublin, a well-known minister, 
was in the neighborhood and his Journal, under date "7mo. 23, 
1771," contains the following: 

"I was at Rancocas meeting. . . . Here I saw John Woolman for 
the first time. I take him to be a sweet, clean-spirited Friend; his 
unity with the true Seed may be felt by his savoury conversation and 
pious, self-denying life. 

24th. Went to Mount Holly meeting, where very many Friends 
assembled from different meetings. ... I was much afraid of this 
meeting, as they have had great privileges by favoured instruments : 
here lived Abram Farrington," and to this meeting belongs that 
worthy, exemplary Friend, John Woolman, whose life and conversa- 
tion shines in Christian piety. His concern is to lead a life of self- 
denial : pomp and splendor he avoids ; does not choose to use silver or 
useless vessels that savour of the pomp of this world. His house is 
very plain, his living also; and yet he enjoys plenty of the good things 
that are necessary for Christian accommodation ; we dined with him, 
and were kindly entertained." ' 

Finally, in the late winter of 1771-2 John Woolman first pub- 
licly announced his intention of visiting England by requesting a 
certificate from his Monthly Meeting at Burlington. This was 
granted and after the Quarterly and Yearly Meetings had taken 
similar action, he set about his final preparations. On lomo. 19, 
1 77 1 he closes his account with his apprentice, William Lee, who 
is released. The last memoranda in the Account Book are : 

da mo 

14 4 1772 To cash left in my hands when I paid poor tax 3 10 

14 To 4 Apple trees by Timothy 3 8 

^ Life of Samuel Neale, in Series. "Biographical, Narrative, Epistolary and Mis- 
cellaneous." Edited by John Barclay, London, 1845. Vol. VIII. 


Many of the accounts are closed and marked "settled." On the 
first page, in a blank space, is this last and touching entry: 

"All due to me from people on Accompt I commit to the Care of 
John Comfort to him to collect the same in a neighborly way and 
apply it to the use of my Wife and his Wife and the rest of our 
Family, as he may find Occasion. John Woolman." 

Now was written his farewell "Epistle" to Friends in his 
native land. He evidently submitted it, as had been the case 
before with his writings, to his friend Israel Pemberton," for the 
following letter in acknowledgment of one from him, probably 
refers to Israel Pemberton's information that a vessel is in port. 
He writes: 

"Beloved Friend 

Thine by J. Comfort came to hand. It would be agreeable to 
my mind that the piece be handed to James, & if no objection arise, 
to its being after opened to the Meeting for Sufferings that it be also 
opened there. 

As my mind hath been more particularly drawn toward the 
Northern parts of England, I do not yet feel Setled to sail for Lon- 
don ; but know not what may be as to that. 

thy loving frd. 

John Woolman." ^ 
da mo 
15: 4 1772 

There is no day of the month noted on the letter, also to 
Israel Pemberton, which follows, but there must have been a very 
short interval between them. Joseph White ^^ lived in Bucks 
County, across the river, and the message may well have been 
urgent, for time grew short. Yet the visit was made. The elder 
man had himself returned but recently from England and prob- 
ably had advice to give. John Woolman was at Reuben Haines,^^ 
in Philadelphia, when he wrote: 

"Beloved friend 

I believe I may endeavour to see Joseph White soon. If thou 
and Such in this City who are careful to look over writings propos* 

1 The original is in tlie Pemberton Papers, Vol. XXIII, 114. Historical Society of 


to be printed, and to amend what may be imperfect, would employ a 
little time in correcting that piece, and afterwards let me see the 
prepar'^ alterations, it would be acceptable to me to look over them. 

Though I know not how it may be as to the sailing in this Vessel, 
I am in care to Endeavour to be in readiness soon. 
Seventh day morning. John Woolman."^ 

Soon after this, and while he was still in Philadelphia, Wool- 
man learned of the intention of Samuel Emlen,^ Jr., to sail for 
London on the "Mary and Elizabeth." The Journal tells us 
explicitly of his scruples about the cabin, and why he felt obliged, 
despite his friends' remonstrances, to travel in the steerage.^ The 
interview with John Head ^^ took place at the latter's house on 
Second Street, nearly opposite Christ Church. 

Having made all his simple arrangements, taken passage in 
the steerage, and put aboard the mattress which had remained at 
Reuben Haines', and which he had made with his own hands for 
the West India voyage, he spent two days at home, taking leave 
of his family. In this interval he drew a Trust Deed, leaving 
his property in the hands of his son-in-law's father, Stephen Com- 
fort, of Fallsington.'^* The existence of this document in the 
Record office at Trenton, New Jersey, explains perfectly why John 
Woolman's zvill has never been forthcoming, and also why there is 
no deed for the properties on which he, and also his daughter and 
her husband, lived. No such instrument was required until the sale 
of the house and land by John and Mary Comfort, in 1791. The 
absence of such records was said to have been the reason that the 
state of New Jersey gave up its proposed intention to buy and 
preserve the present Memorial, several years ago. The wisdom 
shown in this quiet and simple method of disposing of his prop- 
erty is entirely characteristic, and beyond all praise. The in- 
strument is dated 27, 4mo, 1772.^ 

One or two letters remained on his mind, for there was to 
be left no anxiety or thought of things worldly, or that bore with 
the least weight on his conscience. He remembered that his 

^ Pemberton Papers, Vol. xxiii, p. 117. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

- The first two paragraphs are not in Woolman's manuscript. They are hardly 
likely to have been lost, and appear rather to have been inserted by the first editorial 

^ See Appendix. 


intimate friend Elizabeth Smith/" the maiden sister of Samuel ^* 
and John/^ had intended to travel abroad with him and her com- 
panion. Her certificate had been signed in the meeting by him 
and many Friends, and she was then laid upon a bed of sick- 
ness which proved to be her deathbed. Yet there was a hesitation 
lest he had not been "clear" when he put his name to the paper. 
The Smiths were people of wealth and standing. Elizabeth had 
family furniture and silver ; were these consistent ? So he wrote, 
calling her his "beloved sister," and told her gently of his "tender 
feeling" with her in her outward afflictions, and some measure of 
the same in her "inward exercises." He continues — "In the 
pure and undefiled way, that which is not of the Father but of 
the world is purged out. Christ of old time taught the people 
as they were able to bear it, and I believe, my dear friend, there are 
lessons for thee and I (sic) yet to learn. Friends from the 
Country and in the Citty are often at thy house, and when they 
behold amongst thy furniture some things which are not agreeable 
to the purity of Truth, the minds of some, I believe, at times are 
in danger of being diverted from so close an attention to the Light 
of Life as is necessary for us. 

I believe, my dear friend, the Lord hath weaned thy mind 
in a great Measure from all these things, and when I Signed thy 
Certificate, Expressing thee to be exemplary, I had regard to the 
State of thy mind as it appeared to me; but many times since I 
Signed it, I felt a desire to open to thee a reserve which I then, 
and Since often felt as to the Exemplariness of those things 
amongst thy furniture which are against the purity of our prin- 
ciples. I Trust the Great Friend and Keeper is near thee, in 
Whose Love I am thy friend. 

John Woolman. 

da mo 

28: 4: 1772 

I desired my Wife to keep this letter for thee when she 
might see thee." 

Such was the gentle reproof of a sincere friend ! The certifi- 
cate, the letter and the furniture are now cherished together.^ 

1 They are all in possession of tlie editor, to whom they have come by itiheritance. 
The chairs have only a shell on the back and knees, and, except for their graceful 
shape, are absolutely without other ornament. 


Another letter written on the same day gives a parting bless- 
ing to John and Mary Comfort.^* Their first child was born 
six weeks later. 

Dear Children : 

I feel a tender care for you at this time of parting from you, and 
under this care, my mind is turned toward the pure Light of Truth, 
to which if you take diligent heed I trust you will find inward Sup- 
port under all your trials. 

My leaving you under the trying Circumstances now attending 
you, is not without close exercise and I feel a living concern, that 
under these cares of business, and under bodily affliction, your minds 
may be brought to a humble waiting on Him who is the great Pre- 
server of his people. Your loving parent 

da. mo. John Woolman. 

28: 4: 1772.' 

Two more days in Philadelphia, after parting from his family 
at the early dawn, were occupied with final preparations, and 
one may fancy how his friends were troubled at his quiet per- 
sistence in selecting quarters which proved to be far more un- 
comfortable than he had known. Doubtless, as he carried with 
him, at his own charges, all the food and furnishings necessary 
for the voyage, the Friends placed for his comfort some of the 
provisions and remedies with which they desired to allay the dis- 
comforts and inconveniences before him. There are on record 
many long lists of the provisions taken abroad in the vessels of 
that day by traveling Friends. They are curious and interesting, 
but space will not permit an example here ; there is no list of John 

Vessels in those days sailing from Philadelphia usually dropped 
down to Chester to take aboard their final cargo and passengers. 
After attending Darby Monthly Meeting, his last in America, 
where, as often, his tender heart yearned over the young people, 
John Woolman spent the night with his friend William Home," 
at Darby - and he and Samuel EmJen '' joined the ship next 

^Endorsed "For John Comfort." Size 5 J^ X 7 inches. (Original in Woolman 
Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.") 

^ Even during this brief stay, John Woolman found time to write a letter to Israel 
Pemberton, which he left with William Home to deliver with his own hands. After 
a fruitless attempt to do so, when John Pemberton was not at home, W. Home finally 


^^' A^^Z^a 



ft! fy 


John Woolman to Elizabeth Smith of Burlington, N. J. 1772. 

Oripinal in Possession of the Editor. 


»T^ "Jr. 'i ^ 5 ^ -3 

r s ^ t: :: -^ "J 





morning. The "Mary and Elizabeth" ^ was a fine vessel of one 
hundred and eighty tons, built in Philadelphia, and owned by 
Daniel Mildred =» and John Roberts =' both of London, and John 
Head,'*^ the prominent shipping merchant, of Philadelphia. Her 
Captain, James Sparks,- had taken over many traveling preachers 
among the Quakers, in both directions, in the fifteen or twenty 
years in which he had sailed to London. 

James Pemberton, writing soon after to his business corre- 
spondent, David Barclay [1728-1809],= in London (Smo. 16) 
says — 

. . . "Our friend Jno. Woolman embarked with Capt. Sparks on 
a religious visit to some parts of your Island. He is a Friend in good 
Esteem among us, of blameless Life, a good understanding, and deep 
in Spiritual Experience, tho' Singular in his Dress & deportment. 
Is not a Censorious Mind, & I believe apprehends it his real Duty to 
appear as he does. 

Sainy Emlen also Embarkt in the same Vessel on the like busi- 
ness; he is known well among you."' 

Thus departed from his native shores, one whose meek spirit 
was greatly burdened with the weight of the whole social structure. 
One wonders how nuich longer he could have kept up his increas- 
ingly strict manner of life. He finally trod among his fellows a 
solitary path, abstaining from dyed garments because of the in- 
creased labor in their manufacture, and a mistaken idea as to 
cleanliness; from the use of sugar and all other foods that 

wrote on the i6th of 5mo. that he was enclosing the letter. William Home's is among 
the Pemberton Papers, Vol. XXIII, p. 138, Pennsylvania Historical Society. John 
Woolman's has disappeared. 

^ "Ship Registers of the Port of Philada." Pcnna. Magazine of History and 
Biography. Vol. XXVII, p. 495. 

George Vau.x, a descendant of John Head, made the suggestion that the sliip was 
doubtless named for the first and second wives of the American owner, who built her! 
^ Captain Sparks was well known in Philadelphia. His name occurs as a Warden 
of Christ Church in that city. 

^ David Barclay was grandson of the famous apologist, and had joined Dr. Franklin 
and Dr. Fothergill in an effort (1765) to avert the American Revolution. 

* Pemberton Papers. Vol. 23, p. 164. Historical Society Pennsylvania. 
A letter preserved in the Devonshire House Library, London, from Thos. Carleton, 
of Kennett, Pa., to his cousin, Elizabeth Shackleton, of Balletore, Ire., 6mo. 19, 1772, 
says — ". . . Robert Willis and William Hunt have been on a visit to your Nation, and 
three other Friends left us lately on the same account, viz.: Sarah Morris, John 
Woolman and Samuel Emlin. . . . Tho' there may appear something of singularity in 
some of them, yet Wisdom is justified of her children," 


were then the products of slave labor; from riding or driving 
horses, in an endeavor to sympathize with the poor and persecuted 
wayfarers, and writing little when abroad, and then only on scraps 
of paper, that the post-boy's labor might be light. Singular and 
abstemious, allowing himself but little comfort, there is no doubt 
that when he sailed, extreme anaemia was wearing his life away. 




This edition reproduces the Journal of the voyage to England 
in its original form, and as thus given, it largely explains itself. 
The little blue, paper-covered book, worn by being carried in the 
pocket, evidently made by himself and stitched together for con- 
venient size, presents a vivid picture of John Woolman's experi- 
ence at sea. The ship's company numbered about thirty. None of 
the fellow passengers whom he names were strangers to him. 
Sarah Logan,^'' whose maid accompanied her, was the young 
widow of William Logan, Junior (1747-1772), returning to her 
home in England and leaving a young child behind her to be 
brought up under the care of the grandparents, William and Han- 
nah (Emlen) Logan. Young Doctor Adams •"• was returning to 
his home in Bristol, where he was doubtless intimate with the 
Logans there, and he and Samuel Emlen,' who was a relative, 
served as her escort. No other woman is named, and we hear 
no more of the young widow of only three months. James 
Reynolds "^ may have belonged to the Bristol (England) family of 
Reynolds, but is more likely to have come from Mount Holly, 
where John Woolman had been conveyancer for several of the 
family of that name. If so, he was a brother-in-law of John 
Bispham,^^ who was Woolman's intimate friend and neighbor. 
John Bispham is not named in the English Journal as his ac- 
credited companion — indeed it does not appear that Woolman had 
any — but he was in London with him, and was sent for when 
Woolman lay dying at York, and remained with him to the end. 

Although it is probable that the sailors on this ship under 
Captain Sparks were superior to the average seamen of the 
eighteenth century, as they are described by Defoe and Smollett, 
nevertheless their surroundings were unspeakably bad, and their 



habits were coarse and brutal beyond belief. Woolman deeply 
sympathized with the sailors in their discomforts, holding meetings 
with them and gaining their confidence in private conversations. 
He labored to teach the men a due regard for their fellow crea- 
tures, and yearned over the five lads — three of them educated as 
Friends — who were learning the trade, as though they were his 
own children. "How lamentable," he wrote at sea, "is the 
corruption of the world." 

Always observant of natural phenomena, Woolman describes 
the nightly phosphorescence on the waves, and writes of the 
corposant at the mast head. He studies the direction of the 
winds, and notes the changes of the vessel's course. But his 
chief concern is with his fellowman, and his heart yearns over 
the tribulations of the sailors. The little Essay "On a Sailor's 
Life" was written at sea. 

They sighted land on the second of June and took their pilot 
on the fourth. Unwilling to post with Samuel Emlen ' from 
Dover up to London, John Woolman remained with the ship 
until she reached her dock, and then hastened to the Yearly 
Meeting not long after it had gathered. Head winds had delayed 
them up the Thames, and it was "Fifth day, the eighth of the 
sixth month," after a fair voyage of five weeks, that he landed. It 
is remarkable that he left on shipboard the mattress which he 
had made, and some other articles, to be taken back on the return 
voyage to his cousin Reuben Haines "^^ in Philadelphia, as though 
he knew that they would not again be required. 

The Yearly Meeting was sitting at Devonshire House, and 
knowing that he would be late, he hurried to reach the first session. 
Flis unannounced entrance and his peculiar appearance were 
doubtless startling to the cultivated and conventional London 
Friends. Their alarm may be better understood when we recall 
how often in the past they had been obliged to deal with itinerant 
enthusiasts. A hasty toilet in the crowded steerage, with little 
manifestation of his customary scrupulous cleanliness, had em- 
phasized the peculiarity of his undyed clothing, made by his own 
hand ; and one needs no eflfort of the imagination to understand 
why this curious-looking late comer should have met with a cool 
reception. The presentation of his certificate from his own 
Meeting and the Friends in America did not remove their doubts, 


and some one remarked that "perhaps the stranger Friend might 
feel that his dedication of himself to this apprehended service 
was accepted, virithout further labour, and that he might now feel 
free to return to his home." 

John Woolman was profoundly moved, even to tears, at this 
cold reception, for which, after much sacrifice and long travel in 
the love of the Gospel, his sensitive and innocent mind was quite 
unprepared. After sitting long in silence he rose and stated 
that he could not feel himself released from his prospect of labour 
in England. Yet he could not travel in the ministry without 
the consent of Friends, nor would he be at any cost to them under 
those circumstances. He could not return home ; but he was 
acquainted with a mechanical trade, and while the impediment con- 
tinued, he desired that he might be given employment, that he 
might not be chargeable to any. During the deep silence which 
followed the gentle stranger's touching words, he again rose, and 
the powerful sermon which he preached removed the last linger- 
ing doubt as to the authority for his message. The Friend who 
had advised him to return, rose, confessed himself in error, and 
expressed his full approval of the stranger. There was a general 
agreement and sympathy with him and at once "welcomed and 
owned by his brethren, John Woolman passed on to his work." ^ 
The Meeting endorsed him before its close as follows : 

"Minute of Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders, London 
Second Day Morning the 8th of 6th mo. 1772. 
A Certificate from the Monthly Meeting of Burlington for New 
Jersey in America dated the 6th ist Mo. last on behalf of our Friend 
John Woolman backed at the Quarterly Meeting held at the same 
place the 24th 2nd Mo. last also a Certificate from the Spring Meeting 
of Ministers and Elders held at Philadelphia for Pennsylvania & 
New Jersey in the 3rd Mo last on behalf of our said Friend addressed 
to Friends in Yorkshire or elsewhere in Great Britain, Ireland, or 
Holland, were read, importing said Meetings unity with our said 
Friend as a Minister & under his present concern." 

This Yearly Meeting, in Woolman's presence, passed a 
minute against holding negroes in bondage. 

> The poet Whittier, from whose account the above anecdote is taken, vouches for 
its accuracy. His authority, William J, Allinson, as editor of the "Memorials" of 
Rebecca Jones, had many opportunities for obtaining the facts. In an interview later, 
Woolman is said to have remarked, "he had better go as he was." 


Letters from several Friends who were present and witnessed 
John Woolman's reception in London, have come to light and are 
of much interest. John Kendall wrote John Pemberton after- 
wards, "15 of 7mo. 1772. It will be pleasing to thee to hear that 
our Yearly Meeting was held to good satisfaction. . . . Many 
valuable Friends were present from most parts of the nation, and 
no less than seven from America, whose company was truly ac; 
ceptable." ^ While the sessions were going on. Dr. John Fother- 
gill wrote his brother Samuel, on the ninth, "John Woolman is 
solid and weighty in his remarks. I wish he could be cured of 
some singularitys. But his real worth outweighs the trash." ^ 
Daniel Mildred,^' an owner of the "Mary and Elizabeth," wrote 
J. Pemberton on the first of July, enclosing a copy of the Yearly 
Meeting's "Epistle" to Friends, and said: "We were favoured 
with the company of several valuable Friends from your parts, — 
William Hunt," Sarah "^ and Deborah Morris, Samuel Emlen,' and 
John Woolman. The last two just reached it in time. . . . 
John Woolman is gone northward. His peculiar Habit may render 
him disagreeable to some few, but there is that, I think, which 
attends his Words, both in Testimony and Private Converse, which 
will make its Way wherever he goes." ^ The same hand writes 
for the firm, adding to business correspondence, in the more 
leisurely fashion of the earlier day, a line or two of news : 
"London, 16 of 7 mo. 1772. Our worthy Friends, John Wool- 
man and Samuel Emlen ' arrived safe & have been very acceptable 
here and since our Yearly Meeting. John Woolman went for the 
north, and William Hunt " and companion ^^ (Th. Thornborough) 
intend for Holland, where our worthy Friend Sam' Emlen in- 
tends to accompany them. 

(Signed) Mildred and Roberts." * 

The Diary of Elihu Robinson'' for 1772 gives an account 
of the Yearly Meeting of that date, and some idea of the sub- 

^ MS. Letter of John Kendall. Friends' Library, Phila. George Vaux Letter- 

^ MS. Letter, Friends' Library, Devonshire House, London. For Fothergill, see 
Life, by Dr. R. H. Fox. 

^ Pemberton Letters. Vol. XXIII, p. 163. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

^ Ibid., p. 174. 

"Elihu Robinson (1734-1800), A Friend of Eaglesfield, Cumberland, 
Meteorologist. Married, 1757, Ruth Mark. MS. Diary in Devonshire House 
Library, London. 


stance of Woolman's sermons. "Our F"'"' John Woolman from 
Jersey made some pertinent remarks in this Meet" as in many 
others, and tho y" singularity of his appearance might in some 
Meet^" Draw y" Attention of y" Youth and even cause a Change 
of Countenance in some, Yet y" simplicity, solidity and Clearness 
of many of his Remarks made all these Vanish as Mists at y" Sun's 
Rising. He made sev' beautiful rem''^ in this Meet^ with resp' to 
y" benefit of true Silence, and how Incense ascended on y"' 
Oppening (sic) of y" 7th Seal, and there was Silence in heaven 
for y"* space of half an hour, &c. . . . ist. Day Week. At 10 At 
y" M. for W(omen) at Devon® appeared J. Woolman, from 
America, in a lively Testimony, observ^ Divine Love was yet 
able to cleanse from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, which must 
in Degree be witnessed before we could Experience an Union 
with y" Divine Nature, for God did not Unite with any (thing) 
Contrary to his Nature, — Christ with Belial, Nor y" Temple 
of God with Idols, desiring all might endeavour after 
that purity (of) Heart so necess^ connected with our Happi- 

One feels grateful to those "sincere-hearted Friends" in whose 
company Woolman writes his wife that he had been "comforted." 
In the four months of service before him he was to win over the 
great majority of those who most strongly objected to his remark- 
able singularity of appearance and behaviour, which in another 
would have interfered with the reception of his message. The 
authority for that message could have had no higher testimony. 
There was quite a group of English Friends in London at this time 
who had met Woolman at home, and had visited him. None knew 
better than these his sincerity and influence, and they extended 
to him invitations to visit them on the northern journey upon 
which he was setting out. Many of these were accepted, as the 
itinerary will show. 

Some years after his death a Minister of Devonshire House 
Meeting, London, John Horn [1738-1805] wrote a friend who 
made a rationalistic interpretation of the New Testament, "Thou 
mentioned John Woolman. I think, if I understood thee right, 
thou thought Fr'ds should look favorably toward thee in dissenting 
in belief from them, as John Woolman had some singularities. I 


acknowledge he had some, yet I believe he had been building 
on a sure foundation." ^ 

During his brief stay in London, John Woolman's home was 
with John Townsend,''* a hospitable Friend, as humble-minded 
as his guest, who followed the trade of pewterer, and lived in 
Prescot Street, Goodman's Fields. While here Woolman wrote 
several letters home to America. The first of these was to his 
wife : ^ 

"Dear Wife 

Through the mercies of the Lord I arived safe in London on 
the 8 da. 6mo. I was mercifully helped to bear the difficulties of the 
Sea, and went strait from the water Side into the yearly meeting of 
ministers and elders after it was Setled in the morning : And the 
meeting of business was first opened the same day in the Afternoon. 
My heart hath been often melted into contrition since I left thee, 
under a Sence of divine goodness being extended for my help and 
preparing in me a Subjection to his will. I have been comforted in 
the company of some Sincere hearted Friends. The yearly meeting of 
business ended about three hours ago, and I have thoughts of going 
in a few days out of this Citty towards Yorkshire : taking some 
meetings in my way, if Strengthened thereto. 

The tender concern which I have many times felt for thee, and 
for Mary and for John, and even for Betsy, I may not easily express. 
I have often remembered you with tears ; and my desires have been 
that the Lord, who hath been my helper through many Adversities, 
may be a Father to you, and that in his love, you may be guidejd 
Safely along. 

Rob'. Willis," Sarah Morris "' and Companion, W. Hunt " & Com- 
panion, and S. Emlen,' all here and midling well. Robert, going, I 
expect, for Ireland, and W. Hunt & compan", I expect, for Holland. 
Several friends rememb'" kind love to thee. My kind love is to my 
dear friends. 

da mo John Woolman." 

13: 6: 

Next day he wrote to his cousins, Reuben and Margaret 

Haines,"'^ of Philadelphia : " 

'Contributed by Dr. R. Hingston Fox, of London. 

^ Ori^nal copy in MS. A., p. 288. 

^ See Biog., Note 51. The original letter lias not appeared. This copy 

is taken from Friends' Miscellany, Vol. I. p. 9. where John Comly's note says it 

was written on one-eighth of a sheet of foolscap writing paper. It is said of 

John Woolman .that once, being appointed by Turlington monthly meeting to p^e- 


"da mo 
Cousins Reuben and Margaret, 14 6 1772 

I am middling well, in London, and believe I may go northward 
in a few days. Your care for me toward parting hath felt inwardly 
gathering toward the true union in which I hope we may at last 

My heart hath been often contrite since I saw you; and I now 
remember you with tears. 

John Woolman. 
My friend Suse, and my little cousins, I remember you all." 

John Woolman, Junior, to whom the third letter ^ was ad- 
dressed, was the son of his brother Abner Woolman, who had 
died a year before, leaving a wife and several young children. 
Abner was a sweet-spirited young man to whom John Woolman 
was tenderly attached. He had given especial care to the widow, 
and to her children, whom he had taught in his school. The terms 
nephezv and cousin at this time were interchangeable.- 

da mo 
"London 14: 6: 1772 

"I have often felt tender desires that my cousin, John Woolman, 
may be preserved in a watchful frame of mind, and know that which 
supports innocent young people against the Snares of the Wicked. 

The deep Tryals of thy Father and his inward care for you are 
often in my remembrance, with some Concern that you, his children, 
may be acquainted with that inward life to which his mind, whilst 
among us, was often gathered. 

John Woolman. 
For John Woolman, Junr." 

But Woolman's call was to the North, and he did not linger 
in London after the close of the Yearly Meeting. On the fifteenth 
began his long walk into Yorkshire ; his itinerary is not fully out- 
pare a certificate of removal, he used a piece of paper of smaller size than usual. 
Taken to task for his parsimony therein, he modestly answered, "I never found any 
better rule than enough." 

^ The original of this letter is in the Library of Haverford College, Haverford, 

^ John Gardiner, of Burlington, N. J., in his will, Nov. 9, 1694, divides his real 
and personal property between "my young cousins, the children of my brothers & 
sisters." N. J. Archives, XXII, p. 178. 


lined in the Journal. Writing John's brother, Uriah Woolman/^ 
on the 2 1 St, William Hunt," then at Colchester, said of him, "We 
parted from dear cousin John Woolman two days since. He was 
then as well as usual. He has great and acceptable service here. 
The singularity of his appearance is not only strange, but very 
exercising to many valuable Friends, who have had several oppor- 
tunities of conference with him. Some are still dissatisfied; 
others are willing to leave it. The purity of his ministry gains 
universal approbation. I hope he stands on that Foundation 
which will bear him through it all. He is now gone toward 
Yorkshire." ^ 

Not all of the Friends, however, whom Woolman visited could 
cast off the feeling of doubt induced by his peculiarities of dress 
and manner, and his visits have been recorded in singularly few 
of the meetings which he attended. The Quarterly Meeting at 
Banbury was an exception : 

"Oxfordshire Quarterly Meeting held at Banbury, according to 
appointment, this 30th. day of y" 6th month, 1772 .... We were 
favoured with the Company of our Friend, John Woolman from 
America who produced a certificate from the Monthly Meet" of Bur- 
lington in New Jersey endorsed by the quarterly Meet'' of y° same 
province & likewise another from y" General Spring Meet" of Min- 
isters and Elders held at Philadelphia dated the 21st of the 3rd Month 
1772, which Certificates as well as his Visit to us were very accept- 
able." He went into the women's meeting and preached them a mov- 
ing sermon, which they thus record — 

"39th. 6mo. 1772. We have had a very comfortable visit from 
our Friend John Woolman from America, whose tender advice and 
exhortation to Friends in General and the Youth in particular will, 
we earnestly hope, remain sealed upon the minds of all present." ° 

It took Woolman about six weeks to reach the borders of 
Yorkshire, and he appears to have rested for a time at John 
Haslam's,*"^ at Handsworth Woodhouse. From this refuge are 
dated three more of Woolman's brief notes to his friends. He 

writes his former host in London, under date; ^ 

* "Friends* Miscellany," Vol. I, p. 190. 

' Oxfordshire Quarterly Meeting Book, at Reading. Private letter, kindness of 
Wm. C. Braithwaite. 

^ The original is in Friends' Library, Devonshire House, London. 


"da mo 
31 7 1772 
Beloved Friend: 

I am now at John Haslam's on the edge of Yorkshire, midling 
well in health. Sarah Morris and her companion were midling well 
here yesterday. If thou will keep the within letter until thou hast 
convenient opportunity to send it, it will be acceptable to me. I feel 
contented as to hearing from the family I left in America. 
With true love to thee and thy wife and children 
I remain thy f rd. 

John Woolman. 
For John Townsend" 
Pewterer, in Prescot street, Goodman's Fields, London." 

The letter which was enclosed was undoubtedly the following 

to his wife, since it bears the same date : ^ 

"My dear wife, 

Though I feel in a good degree resigned in being absent from 
you, my heart is often tenderly Affected toward you, and even to 
weeping this morning, while I am about to write. 

The numerous difficulties attending us in this life are often before 
me, and I often remember thee with tender desires that the holy 
Spirit may be thy leader, and my leader through life, and that at last 
we may enter into rest. 

My journey hath been through inward watchfulness, I see but a 
little way at a time, but the Lord hath been gracious to me, and way 
opens for my Visit in these parts. 

Thy loving Husband 

John Woolman. 
about 160 miles northward from London 
da mo 
31: 7: 1772 

For Sarah Woolman." 

The third letter was to his cousins Haines °^ in Philadelphia, 

under the same date : ^ 

' Original in Woolman Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It is written 
on a very small sheet, measuring only four by six inches. 

' The original is probably lost. Text is from Comly's "Friends' Miscellany," 
Vol. I, p. 9. 


"da mo 

Beloved Cousins, 3i : 7= I772 

I am now at our ancient friend, John Haslam's, whose memory 
is much impaired by the palsy ; but he appears to be in a meek, 
quiet state ; about one hundred and sixty miles northward of London. 
My journeying hath been through much inward watchfulness. I 
cannot see far before me ; but the Lord, in tender mercy, hath been 
gracious to me, and way opens for my visit among Friends. 

Friends from America, on visits here, were all midling well lately. 

I send no letters by post here, nor do I want any sent to me by 

I feel a care that we humbly follow the pure leadings of Truth, 
and then, I trust, all will work for good. 

Your loving cousin, 

John Woolman." 

From John Haslam's ^^ Woolman pursued his way through 
the West Riding of Yorkshire, making a detour into Westmore- 
land with the evident desire to examine for himself conditions 
in the neighborhood of the great manufacturing centres. The 
enclosure of the English commons was producing the disastrous 
results which are familiar today to students of the history of 
economics; while the introduction of machinery into the great 
mills of England was to result in the riots among the laboring 
classes, some intimations of which must have been familiar to 
Woolman, even before he left home. His "concern" had been al- 
together toward the northern counties, and especially Yorkshire. 
That he was familiar with the history of the labour disturbances 
is certain. Many members of his home meeting and of others 
among his neighbors had come from that county, and had kept in 
close touch with relatives at home. The Stacys, Prouds, Smiths 
— to name but a few at random — were fully informed of the 
situation, and Woolman was too deeply filled with sympathy for 
the village laborer, that obscure individual, on the subject of 
whose wrongs history is so strangely silent, not to feel drawn 
toward the scene of his trials. 

Reference to his Essays, and to the observations he makes in 
his Journal upon the cost of living among these people, show that 
he was continually studying the conditions under which the poor 
were struggling. One feels sure that he had read the writings 


of the Quaker economist, John Bellers,^ whose pamphlets were 
in the libraries of which we know that he made such good use. 
Bellers wrote, "The poor are hke rough diamonds; their worth 
is unknown. . . . Regularly labouring people are the Kingdom's 
greatest treasure and strength. Without labourers there can be 
no Lords. . . . Land without people is of no worth. And this 
Treasure are the Poor ; but the polishing of these rough diamonds, 
that their Lustre may appear, is a subject highly worth the Con- 
sideration & endeavour of our greatest Statesmen and Senators." 

John Woolman had always advocated an agricultural life for 
most men, although he acknowledged the necessity for the learned 
tailings, and those interests which placed the manufacturers in 
groups and the statesmen in centralized municipalities. He could 
not learn of the dispossession of the ancient, self-maintaining 
families of respectability, living for centuries in the English dales 
or on their small homesteads where the interest of the little com- 
munity in the soil had become vital, without a pang of grief at 
their helpless condition when turned loose upon the cold world of 
trade. The Enclosure Act took over a large part of the common 
lands. ^ The isolation of the poor was to become more and more 
pronounced, and the English peasant, a part of the soil and back- 
bone of England, with his communal interests, and ancient inde- 
pendent rights, was to deteriorate into the English laborer in the 
factories, owning not a foot of soil out of which early owner- 
ship, integrity and independence seemed to grow, and roaming 
about from one crowded town to another, seeking work wherever 
were paid the highest wages, and quite irresponsible in his personal 
conduct, which was of the worst. 

Nothing could have more strongly appealed to the Quaker 
philanthropist than these conditions. In the West Riding of 
Yorkshire, toward the end of the eighteenth century, there were 
five hundred broadcloth and blanket factories, and "over thirty 
thousand families whose livelihood depended upon the trade in 
wool." ^ For generations Woolman's own family had been weavers 

^ John Bellers, Quaker economist, wrote his "Proposals for Raising a College 
of Industry" in 1696. He gave Thomaa Budd, in 1685, a Power of Attorney to 
take up 5,600 acres in Burlington County, and town lots for 10 families. 

2 Johnson, "Disappearance of the Small Landowner," says that nearly twenty 
per cent of the total acreage of England had been enclosed by the end of the i8th 

" G. O. Trevelyan, "George III and Charles James Fox," Vol. II, p. 14. 


and he knew, as none of his wealthier companions in the min- 
istry, tlien in England with him, could know, what were the 
privileges of the independent weaver at his own loom, with the 
ownership of a few acres of soil to support a family. His 
"Conversation between a Rich Man and a Laboring Man" was 
his most recent production, and his sound mind was engaged upon 
a problem which was fundamental. Never willing to take at 
second hand what could be come at by his own personal effort, one 
can readily understand John Woolman's desire to go to York- 
shire and learn for himself the true facts in the case. 

No one who has enjoyed the keen pleasure of journeys afoot in 
foreign lands, before the horrors of the Great War ruined the 
face of many a peaceful landscape, can fail to comprehend the 
rare opportunities which must have offered themselves to Wool- 
man as he followed this ideal method of first-hand study. Chats 
at the well-curb and in the byre and about the hearth at nightfall, 
gave him opportunity to gain the facts he sought, and to drop a 
word of Gospel cheer and comfort or warning, in his own inimi- 
table, gentle way. He loved the "clean country" as he called it, 
and suffered correspondingly when, in the densely built and 
filthy alleys of the cloth factories of the towns, and near the fields 
where the dyes had drained away, he was obliged to step care- 
fully when "travelling in dirtiness," assailed by smells and sights 
and sounds offensive to every one of his senses. He knew what 
the cottagers ate and wore, and the cost of living to the poor, 
and at the end of the six weeks which he thus spent, had his 
statistics ready. One cannot doubt that a very important object of 
his journey to England was what now would be called a study of 
its economic conditions. Had he lived, he certainly would have 
written of his impressions more fully than in the few paragraphs 
which are preserved in his Journal. 

He reached the hospitable home of the Crosfields,'* where his 
hostess was no stranger, on the twenty-third of August, and 
remained in and about Kendal for a week. His letter to Rachel 
Wilson,*"" another well-known Friend whom he had met at home in 
America, was written from here, "30th. of the 8mo." ^ From 
Kendal he returned to Yorkshire. Through Greyrigg, and the 

^ This letter is given in the text of the Journal, where it was copied by Wool- 
man himself. 


beautiful Wensleydale, home of the Fothergills, calling at the 
little towns and villages with a message of cheer for the small 
meetings, Woolman came to Richmond, where a shock awaited 
him in the news of the death from smallpox of his cousin, 
William Hunt." Again came the feeling of dread at the fell 
disease, which was always lurking near and so often breaking out 
when given any opportunity. 

The middle of September found his thoughts turning home- 
ward, and he wrote to the family of his son-in-law, who had 
several brothers and sisters. He dates his communication from 
the old home of his Philadelphia friend, Robert Proud,*' the 
historian,^ who was at the time teaching the Friends' school, now 
the William Penn Charter School, in that city. Doubtless he 
carried messages to the family. We have seen that Stephen Com- 
fort of Fallsington, Pennsylvania, was the father of John Com- 
fort,^* who had married Woolman's daughter Mary. He writes : 

"To the Children of Stephen Comfort ^ of Bucks County. 

da : mo : 
I am now, this i6th 9th, 1772, at Robert Proud's in Yorkshire, so 
well as to continue travelling, though but slowly. 

Yesterday, as I was walking over a plain on my way to this place, 
I felt a degree of Divine love attend my mind, and therein an open- 
ness toward the children of Stephen Comfort, of which I believed I 
should endeavour to inform them. My mind was opened to behold 
the happiness, the safety and beauty of a life devoted to follow the 
heavenly Shepherd; and a care that the enticements of vain young 
people may not ensnare any of you. 

I cannot form a concern, but when a concern cometh, I endeavour 
to be obedient. 

John Woolman." ' 

The Prouds lived at Thirsk, and during the following week he 
resumed his walk, now more slowly, toward the goal which had 
ever been before his mind, when he declared his "draught" to 
be entirely toward the north of England. He approached the old 
city of York wearily, but with satisfaction. He had been asked 

1 The Robert Proud at whose house he stayed had been in America, 1761-2. 
He was a relative of the historian of the same name, whose sister had married 
Richard Brown, a Yorkshire man. 

'From John Comly's text, "Friends' Miscellany," Vol. I, p. 11. The original 
is not forthcoming. 


whither he was bound from thence, but answered, "York looks 
hke home to me." 

There were sohcitous Friends in York who had been ap- 
prised of his coming, and as he approached the town he was met 
on the road by a youth of eighteen, Henry,"' son of William 
Tuke,*"* who had been sent by his father to meet and guide him 
to his own home. This hospitable host entertained nearly all the 
traveling Friends who visited York. One can never know how 
much the younger philanthropist's life was influenced by the 
gentle spirit of the frail guest, who was to grow so near to them, 
and who was so kindly and characteristically welcomed. Henry 
Tuke afterward spoke many times of this walk with John Wool- 
man, "of the indescribable sweetness of his company, and the 
pleasure with which he remembered it." ^ 

William "' and Esther Tuke,"* "the princess," whose home 
was so cordially offered to the stranger, lived at Castlegate. He 
was a prominent tea merchant and his home was in the midst 
of the life and stir of a large city. The bustle and movement 
which here surrounded John Woolman, fatigued with long travel 
and already ill with a fatal disease, added to his weariness, and 
he found it hard to endure. He therefore modestly made his situa- 
tion known and requested a more quiet and retired home whilst in 
York. The circumstances of his choice would appear almost 
prophetic. It could not have been more wisely selected if the 
events of the next fortnight and the need for isolation had been 
clearly before him. 

A little way out of the city, in what Woolman called "the clean 
country," still stands in Marygate, a most attractive old house, 
known as Almery Garth ; the city has since encroached upon its 
quiet. Here lived in 1772 Thomas Priestman,"^ a Friend with 
whom the Tuke family were intimate, and who was well-known 
for his hospitality. It is due to the courtesy of his great-great- 
grandson, Malcolm Spence, late owner, and to his sister, Ellen 
Spence, the present occupant, that we can verify much as to 
John Woolman's last days. Drake, in his "History of York" in 
1736, has the following: "North of Marygate is a spacious piece of 
rich ground, yet called Almery Garth, which name it takes from 

* Charles Tyler, "Life of Samuel Tuke." S. T. was a son of Henry Tuke. 

a 2 •§ 

Window of room, 

Almery Garth, 
10 mo. 7, 

which John Woolman died. 


Photograph by Malcolm Spence. 
Courtesy of "IVesleyan Methodist Magazine," London. 


the French Aumonier ; [Latin, Eleemosynarius] ; and was for- 
merly the place where the Convent kept their cattle which were 
ready for killing, and also put in what was charitably bestowed 
upon them. The ground has been all walled in, except on the side 
next the river : in it were the Abbot of St. Mary's fish-ponds, the 
traces of which appear at this day." 

Thomas Priestman's daughter Rachel*" [1765-1848] who 
married in 1790, William Tuke, Jr., son of William Tuke, was a 
child of seven when John Woolman died. She was in the habit of 
relating to her grand children the tales of early association with 
Almery Garth. One of these grandchildren, Mrs. Alfred H. 
Spence, wrote for her own descendants a history of the ancient 
house and of its inhabitants. From this the editor is permitted to 
quote her charming description of the place. "The situation was a 
very pleasant one. Thomas Priestman's house was outside the city 
walls, close to the principal gateway of the ruined Benedictine 
Abbey of St. Mary's, hence the name of Marygate. It stood in a 
sunny garden, surrounded by walls on which ripened peaches, 
nectarines, and apricots; in the middle was the flower garden 
where roses and lavender blossomed in profusion. There was 
nothing between this garden and the river except a low lying 
meadow, called the Ings, which had anciently formed part of 
the Almery Garth, the pasture land of St. Mary's Abbey ; across 
it flowed a narrow stream, bordered by pollard willow trees, and 
near the adjoining tanyard with its dull red coloring, stood a row 
of tall picturesque poplars. This field in spring was a brilliant 
yellow, when its marsh marigolds and buttercups were in flower. 
On another side lay the orchards, in which, surrounded by green 
banks and overhung by old apple trees, was the only remaining 
pond of the many, where the monks in the olden time had kept 
their fish. From the window of the house, nothing could be 
seen on both banks of the river as far as eye could reach, but an 
expanse of pleasant meadow land. In the far distance in front, 
might be seen among trees, the roofs of the villages of Acomb and 
Holgate, with the twiriing sails of their adjoining windmills. On 
the left the houses of York were hid from view by the White City ^ 

1 The stone of which York fortifications is built is famed for its pure white- 
ness. It is limestone from Tadcaster. 


walls on their high greensward enihanknients.' The prospect on 
every side was quiet, peaceful and happy." It was a spot after 
John Woolman's own heart. 

Received by his new friend, Woolman asked the privilege of 
choosing his room. A visitor of 1842- dcscrihes the one he 
selected. At that time David Priestman, son of Thomas, was 
the owner, and had blocked up the exit which led from his own 
residence, next door, into the historic room of the adjoining house, 
and retained an entrance by means of a back staircase. When he 
took his visitor into the room, the latter thus described it : "D.P. 
enquired if I should like to see the room. I caught at it, and 
we went with a lantern. The entrance is from the lane by the door 
marked in the accompanying sketch. . . . Woolman asked if he 
might choose a room, and fixed on this as being very quiet and 
retired, there being no thoroughfare at the back of the house 
except a footpath. It is just such a room as one might expect 
him to have chosen — whitewashed and without cornice or orna- 
ment of any kind — the chimney piece of oak plainly moulded — • 
and the firegrate of the very simplest construction, being merely 
the front bar and bottom let into brick work. At the time of his 
death there were two beds in the room, one, if not both, with 
undyed hangings." 

The illustrations here given were made in 1870 when the apart- 
ment had been restored as a bedroom ; it was a lumber room in 
1842, although the furniture, antique and interesting, has no con- 
nection with Woolman. •' The little chamber measured twelve by 
seventeen feet and its ceiling is nine feet high. The door has been 
restored near its old position. 

In this "prophet's chamber" our Journalist rested, weary in 
body and mind. From here two letters were written, the first to 
John Wilson,"" son of his friend Rachel Wilson,"" of Kendal, to 
whom he had become much attached when she was in Philadelphia 
in 1769. It is dated : 

^ The embankments are the old earthwork entrenchments constructed by the 
ancient Britons: the stone work on the top dates only from the 14th century. 

^ Sylvanus Thompson, to his father. Letter dated York, 2010. 25, 1842. Friends* 
Library, Devonshire House. London. (Gibson MSS. Vol. II, p. 171.) 

■^ Tlicse luctures, by liif lale owner, are given by iH-rniissinn, and with tlie con- 
sent also of the IVcslcyan Mi'thodist AJaso^im', where they trrst appeared in an 
article by A. Dickinson, entitled "A Visit to John Woolman's Grave," June J910. 


"York 22: 9: 1772. da mo 

Beloved Friend 

When I followed the Trade of a Tailor, I had a feeling of that 
which pleased the proud mind in people ; & growing uneasie, was 
strengthened to leave off that which was superfluous in my Trade. 

When I was at your house, I believe I had a sense of the pride 
of people being gratified in some of the business thou followest, and 
I feel a concern in pure love to endeavour to inform thee of it. 

Christ our leader is worthy of being followed in his leadings at 
all times. The Enemy gets many on his side. 

O ! that we may not be divided between the two, but may be 
wholly on the side of Christ. 

In true love to you all I remain thy friend 

John Woolman." ' 

The last from his pen was to his cousins Reuben and Mar- 
garet Haines,''^ a tiny epistle measuring five and three quarters 
by three and one half inches, and referring to his remarkable 
disposal of his bed and belongings when he arrived in London: 

"Beloved Cousins : — I am now at york at a quarterly meeting 23 ; 

9 : 72 So well in health as to continue travelling I appoint a few 
meetings, but not so fast as I did some time ago. I feel quiet in my 
mind, believing it is the Lord's will that I should for a time be in this 
part of the world. I often remember you, and friends in your parts, 
as I pass along in this journey, and the Truth as it is Separate from 
all mixture. The Truth as it is in Jesus was never more precious to 
me than I feel it in this my Sojourning; in which my mind is often 
deeply affected with that which is not of the Father but of the world. 
I hear that dear W. Hunt departed this life with the Small pox 9; 
9 : 72 and that some of his last words were The Truth Is Over All. 
The rest of the America friends on the visit were lately living, and 
mostly midling well so far as I hear. 

I left my bed and Some things on board the Ship I came in, 
directing the people to convey them to you if they arive safe at 

John Woolman." ' 

^ This letter is found in the back of the Journal of the Voyage to England, in 
John Woolman's hand, and is the copy made by himself. 
2 Original in possession of the Editor 


He was "quiet in his mind" and attending the Quarterly 
meeting, at which he was present until the last sitting. His text 
has been preserved in the memorandum of Thomas Priestman; 
"Every plant that is not of my Father's planting shall be plucked 
up by the roots." But he was not well, and thought the fever 
and ague to which so many in his own neighborhood were then 
subject, was coming upon him. Two days, however, after his 
little letter to Margaret Haines was written, he was taken seriously 
ill and within twenty-four hours the smallpox, his most dreaded 
enemy, appeared. He had probably been exposed to it somewhere 
in the manufacturing centres which he had recently visited, and 
thus became truly a sacrifice to the life-long desire of his soul 
to ameliorate the sufferings of the laboring classes. 

During the next few days were enacted the closing scenes 
of this saintly life. Woolman had met Esther Tuke "' while in 
London and must have received kind attentions, as their guest in 
York, from herself and her husband. The depth of the impression 
made on the delicate mind of the invalid by one who has been 
called a "princess in Israel" from the grace and dignity of her 
Christian demeanor, is sufficiently witnessed by the fact that when 
he discovered the seriousness of his illness, he asked that she come 
to him and remain "until there was a cliange." Esther Tuke,"' 
therefore, took up her temporary abode at Thomas Priestman's "" 
at Almery Garth, and to the end bestowed upon the ill man the 
accomplished skill in nursing which she possessed. William 
Tuke "* was present during much of the time, and he and Thomas 
Priestman "" made careful record, — "minuted down," as they put 
it, — all that the dying man said. Although the disease was so 
virulent and contagious,' the young daughter of the Tukes, Sarah,'" 
afterward well-known as a minister, and as the wife of Robert 
Grubb, was frequently present to wait upon the patient, whose 
sweet spirit made a deep impression upon her young mind. It 
was to her that Woolman said, "My child, thou seems very kind to 
me, a poor creature. The Lord will reward thee for it." She was 
about eighteen at the time. '■ 

As the disease progressed John Bispham,'*' who must have 
been somewhere in the neighborhood, was sent for and remained 

^ See "Account of the Life and Religious Labors of Sarali Gnabb," p. 3, Tren- 
ton. 1795. 


with his old friend to the end. Sometimes Woolman desired 
pen and paper, and feebly and patiently wrote a few lines himself, 
with dictation of brief portions to insert in the Journal/ With his 
usual care he gave directions as to his burial, observing the 
law as to the use of wool in wrapping the corpse,- according to the 
statute enacted in 1678 and still in force in 1772, in order to 
encourage the woolen industry. His mind appears to have been 
clear until the very end. Only four hours before he died he 
painfully wrote, with blinded eyes, "I believe my being here is 
in the wisdom of Christ; I know not as to life or death." Unable 
to lie in bed, he was helped to a chair, and even crossed the room 
assisted on each side. But finally, exhausted, he lay down again, 
and shortly the weary body was at rest. The chair in which he 
sat is reverently preserved.^ 

No time was lost in writing to London. A letter * from 
William Tuke "^ to John Elliot,^^ announcing the death of John 
Woolman, was sent the same day : 

"York, the 7" of the 10" Month, 1772. 

Our Friend Thos. Thornburgh informing Thee from hence that our 
dearly beloved Friend John Woolman had taken the smallpox, it is 
with sorrow on account of the Churches loss of so great a preacher 
of Righteousness both in Life & Doctrine I now inform Thee, that 
after many conflicts of Body in which He was supported with the 
greatest patience, Resignation & Fortitude I ever beheld, He quietly 
finished his Course this morning a little after the sixth hour, without 
sigh, groan, or struggle. Many sweet comfortable & instructive ex- 
pressions were uttered by him during his illness, which I hope will 
not fall to the Ground." 

John Woolman died a few minutes after six o'clock on the 
morning of the seventh of October. Two days after, on the 
ninth, a large meeting was held in the meeting house, at which 
were present several of John Woolman's American friends, among 
them John Pemberton,^ John Bispham,^' and Thomas Ross." 
He was buried in the Bishophill graveyard at York. At the grave 

^ These are noted in the text as they occur. 

^ Original in possession of Joseph B. Braithwaite of London, 

' In possession of the Society of Friends, Devonshire House, London. 

* Devonshire House Library, London. See Reynolds MSS. p. 190. 


the Methodist minister, who was probably John Nelson, then in 
charge of that congregation, preached a most acceptable sermon. 
The Quaker conventions were at that time so rigid that they did 
not permit themselves to tell the minister how grateful were his 
words. Woolman's grave may be identified in the illustration. 
No stone was placed upon it for some years, and when it was 
marked, fear lest a few feet variance from the exact spot might 
have occurred, led to the inscription, 

Near this Stone 

Rest the Remains of 

John Woolman, 

of Mount Holly 

New Jersey, North America, 

Who died at York 

7th of loth Month 1772 

aged 51 years. 

Within the church wall of St. Marys, close by, is the tomb of his 
wife's ancestor, James Mauleverer, who died in 1664. 

The Leeds "Mercury" for Oct. 13, 1772, had the following: — 

"DIED, on Wednesday last, at York, of the smallpox, JOHN 
WOOLMAN, of New Jersey, in North America, an eminent preacher 
amongst the people called Quakers. His life exhibited a very singu- 
lar, and striking example of self-denial; adorned with an amiable 
sweetness of disposition, and affectionate good will to mankind uni- 

His feelings for the bondage and oppression of the poor enslaved 
negroes, were so exquisite that he conscientiously refused every 
accommodation, both in diet and apparel, which was produced by 
tlieir labour. He was upon a religious visit to his friends in this 
nation, and has left a wife and family in America." 

The few effects which Woolman left were disposed of by 
William Tuke in accordance with his expressed wishes. The 
clothing was too peculiar to be acceptable even to the grave- 
digger, who, however, took the shoes. After copies had been 
taken of the Essays, and selections from the Journal, the originals 
were sent to London to Samuel Emlen ' who brought them, to- 
gether with the Journal of the Sea Voyage and a few posses- 
sions which had been left at John Townsend's, back to America 


with him when he returned that autumn, placing them in the hands 
of Sarah Woolman. Samuel Emlen was accompanied on the 
return voyage by Thomas Thornburgh,"' who had also in his 
charge the eiTects of William Hunt.' At a Meeting for Sufferings 
held in London, 20th iimo., \~~2. "A Bill was brought in for 
the Passage and Accommodation of Our Friends, Samuel Emlen 
& Thos. Thornburgh to New York, amounting to £63." ^ 

In sending these articles to Samuel Emlen in London, Esther 
Tuke accompanied them with the following letter, which gives an 
admirable impression of the way in which John Woolman had 
won his entrance into all hearts. 

"York, 14th of loth. mo. 1772. 
Dear Friend : 

Under the humbling dispensation we have lately passed through, 
my mind hath many times been drawn near to thee ; and after 
the departure of our dear friend, John ^^'oolman, there seemed a 
strong inclination to salute thee with a few lines to let thee know 
a little how he was in the course of his painful affliction ; and though 
it may seem rather a repetition, as several accounts have been sent 
to London, yet, as no one was more with him, nor had greater oppor- 
tunity to observe the state of his mind, a few hints concerning him, 
with a copy of some expressions dropped at sundry times,' I believe 
will not be unacceptable. 

He was exceedingly afraid from the first of giving needless 
trouble to any; but his disorder increasing so much that constant 
attendance was necessary, he desired I would not sleep out of the 
house until I saw an alteration, which I very willingly complied with ; 
and though it was exceedingly trying to see him labour under 
unspeakable affliction, and could render so little relief, yet I have 
many times been thankful in being favoured to attend him; for as I 
never saw one bear so much before, so I never beheld the like forti- 
tude, patience and resignation — his hope and confidence were so strong 
and firmly fixed, that the greatest storms of aiBiction were not able 
to move him, or even cause him to utter an impatient word, indicat- 
ing that he thought anything too hard; and though he was not free 
to take much medicines, yet he attended so much to the progress of 
the disorder, and his own feelings as to what was suited for healing 
or cooling nourishment, &c. that our apothecary (a man we think of 

^Journal Friends' Historical Society (London'), ^"ol. III, p. i8. 
- Some of these were separately pTinted in London in 1773, as "Remarks on 
Sundry Subjects of Importance." 


singular judgment in that complaint, not a Friend) said he did not 
know he could be better ordered than he ordered himself ; except 
towards the last, he seemed to feel the need of something more cor- 
dial, which he was not unwilling to take ; but his throat was then so 
closed that he could not swallow, but with the greatest difficulty, and 
often strove, when it was distressing to see him, under his great 
weakness, and the pain it occasioned; and at times he quietly said, 
"I believe I must in a little time give it over and try no more," and 
it seemed twice wholly closed up. 

But as a further detail of these painful circumstances cannot be 
of use, and exceedingly painful to me to relate, I shall leave them 
and say, though he appeared to us in some things singular, and the 
path he trod straiter than the liberty some of us have thought the 
truth gives, yet I say to thee, that I cannot help thinking it was the 
way truth led him. Though it is not for us to endeavour to step in 
the same strait way, except from the like call, yet we may be thank- 
ful we are allowed more liberty, and can in a more comfortable 
manner enjoy the temporal blessings afforded us; and, looking at 
this, and at the little comfort he had, it was cause of humbling to my 
mind and brought an enquiry, what returns I had made, and whether 
I had walked answerable to what I enjoyed beyond merit; and I 
sometimes thought his singular and abstemious way, so striking and 
conspicuous, may be a means to draw divers others to the like exami- 
nation; and I know nothing in this luxurious and licentious age more 
likely to begin a reformation than a solid consideration of this sort; 
for do we not see how pride, superfluities in meats, drinks, and 
apparel, abound amongst us, and like a torrent, seem to carry all 
before them, and I think, cry aloud for a stop. For my part, the 
prospect is often so distressing, on account of training up our own 
children, and the like difficulties other religious parents labour under, 
that my life is frequently a life of mourning and lamentation, for it 
seems scarce possible to bring them up in the way we would have 
them walk; and if we could, there seems little probability, without 
something extraordinary, that they would be kept in it, such is the 
example — such the giving way in general, and with sorrow it may be 
said so, of many that should be leaders. 

And if this good man's example in life and in death, should have 
a tendency, (as I hope it may) to draw some to consider and inspect 
a little closer than they have hitherto done, we should be careful how 
we take off the weight by blaming a singularity, which, if compared 
with our holy pattern, we shall find, I think, not far out of the way. 

And now I hope, though we are pretty much strangers to each 
other as to the outward, thou wilt be sensible that my thus commu- 


nicating my private thoughts is in that love in which there is free- 
dom, and with a hope thou wih treat me in Uke manner, and am far 
from supposing thou hast judged hardly of John Woolman; but I 
believe some hereaway will, and would be glad, perhaps, to find flaws 
in his singularity, to cover themselves, and stave off a narrower 
scrutiny and retrospection into their own conduct and example. I 
am far from mourning that he is gone, believing his day's work is 
finished, and his measure of suffering filled up. And I scarce ever 
expected his recovery during his sickness, though there were many 
favourable symptoms; for looking at the path, the unspeakable diffi- 
culties that would have attended his travelling, &c., it seemed often 
clear to me that he would either be delivered from it by death, or 
have some more liberty in his mind respecting the use of some things. 
I have sometimes thought there might be a providential hand in his 
taking and dying of the small-pox ; for if he had gone off in almost 
any other disorder, we might have feared his manner of living and 
the hardships he was exposed to had caused it; but in this disorder, 
his manner of living might be a fit preparative ; and the apothecary 
(so skilful in it) said, before he saw him, that no person living as 
he understood he had, could be much afflicted by having a great load 
of small pox; but he found his mistake, and diligently attended him, 
expressing an anxious solicitude for his recovery; and divers times, 
with tears in his eyes, expressed his astonishment to see, as he said, 
such a perfect and upright man upon the earth. 

John Woolman frequently conversed with him, with great open- 
ness, and when he differed in his judgment from the doctor, he gave 
him such reasons as were to him satisfactory. He attended his 
funeral, and said afterwards, he could scarce forbear giving testi- 
mony concerning him to the audience, but forbore, knowing it would 
be an intrusion upon us. Indeed, a Methodist preacher did, in a few 
words at the graveside, with which divers of us were well satisfied, 
tho' not prudent to tell him so. I think now to conclude, being afraid 
of being tedious, after saying we were truly sorry to be disappointed 
of seeing thee here. But as thou intended it, I hope we may yet see 
thee before thy return, which would be a little reviving in these 
drooping days to thy sincere friend and poor little fellow-traveller, 
in the hope and fellowship of the Gospel. 

Esther Tuke.* 

My husband's dear love to thee, and our dear love to John Eliot" 
and his wife, and please to lend the enclosed paper to Thomas 

1 A long extract from this letter is given by John Woolman's cousin, John Hunt," 
in a letter to a friend on the subject of Joshua Evans' beard. "Friends' Miscellany," 
Vol. I, pp. 247. 251- 


Corbyn " to take a copy. We thought one would do for both. If 
thou have leisure and freedom, a few lines will be very acceptable, 
and to mention whether our beloved friend Robert Willis " be re- 
turned from Ireland. 

John Woolman desired my husband in case of his decease, to 
write to Reuben Haines,™ which he intends to do, and Send him a 
Copy of his Expressions by John Bispham," if he Returns this fall; 
but if he should not, Would be obliged to thee to let him know what 
way else thou thinks he may best send. 

(Endorsed, "A Coppey of a Letter from Esther Tuke to Samuel 
Emlen, Concerning the death of John Woolman." ') 

Esther Tuke wrote another Friend whose name does not 
appear : 

"The state of his mind throughout the whole of his unspeakable 
affliction was one continued calm; a firm trust in the Lord, with 
perfect resignation to his disposal, appeared throughout the whole; 
patient beyond description ; his hope and confidence so firmly fixed, 
that no outward distress seemed to be able to discompose or ruffle 

I think it a favour we had the privilege of attending him. He 
could bear but a low voice, nor seldom more than one or two in the 
room at a time, and mostly without shoes ; his head at times being 
violently bad, he said the lifting up of a door latch, or stepping hard 
on the floor, was as if we had beat him with hammers; and yet 
throughout, his understanding was perfect; could bear to speak but 
little, but when he did, about his nursing or anything needful, it was 
so expressive, that every word seemed a sentence, and carried fre- 
quently deep instruction with it. 

The day before he died, his throat was closed up, that he could 
scarce speak intelligibly, which distressed me much, but he in great 
measure removed this difficulty by asking for pen and ink, which we 
got and held the paper, and he wrote the words very legibly, though 
he was quite blind, and had been so for some days ; twice his throat 
was quite closed, that he could not swallow one drop of anything, and 
we had the most distressing prospect that he might continue some 
days in that situation. The Doctor syring'd his throat, but at last 

' From an original copy in the Sciap-book of Samuel Parrish, entitled "Quakers, 
Indians and Slavery," p. 393, Hist. Soc. of Penna., Philadelphia. The letter, 
without the postscript, is given in the Century Edition, Headley Bros, of London, 
from another copy in Friends* Meeting House, Brighton, England. It was cus- 
tomary to circulate manuscript copies of such letters on meeting or social matters 
of general interest, and it is possible that other copies still exist. 


gave it up the night before he died, and said nothing could be done ; 
but my husband, who will never give up using means as long as there 
is the least relief, set on to foment, with his consent; and continued 
it for two hours. He had the great satisfaction to find it open again, 
and he swallowed better than he had done for some days before, and 
we were ready to flatter ourselves with hope; but it was of short 
duration. For though he got a little ease in that respect, yet he was 
for several hours exceeding bad, and could not lie in bed. Was got 
up in a chair, and towards morning had on some of his cloaths, and 
with leaning on two, walked over the room; but wearied out, was 
laid down again upon the bed, and after some time, feel asleep ; waked 
about the sixth hour, and breathed a few times, and departed without 
struggle, sigh, or groan." ' 

With the small package sent home to America went the fol- 
lowing letter from John Townsend ''^ of London, to Sarah Wool- 
man in Mount Holly : 

(No date) 
Dear Friend 


Feeling my mind drawn towards thee in near love and tender 
sympathy for thy great loss of so near a bosom friend thy dear hus- 
band. The church's loss is great for which the hearts of many are 
deeply affected and mourn. But thine and children's loss is much 
greater I trust and believe that gracious hand which called him 
forth into the harvest field will sanctify and sweeten this bitter cup 
of which thou hast to drink even to the fulfilling of that gracious 
promise that all shall work together for good to those who love and 
fear God. 

He lodged at my house when in London. His company and self- 
denying example were truly profitable to me and family. I doubt 
not but he has gone to reap the reward of the faithful labourer who 
loved not the world but was made truly willing to lay down his life 
in his heavenly master's cause, in that he might be made helpful to 
any poor soul or souls. He divers times told me that he had not had 
the small pox, and desired I would tell Friends that was the reason 
why he did not go to their houses, but if he was spared to return 
again to this City, he believed he should have libert\' to visit them. 
He frequently said he was resigned to the will of Providence. He 
was not afraid of the disorder, and if he catch'd it in going to meet- 

' From the copy in Brighton, England, Meeting House, given in Century Edition, 
Headley Bros. London, p. 297. 


ings and in the way of his duty he should have no cause to reflect 
upon himself. He left a few things at my house which we have now 
forwarded by our dear friends Samuel Emlin and Thomas Thorn- 
borough who are able to give thee further information of the last 
days of thy dearly beloved Husband, to whom I refer thee, hoping 
that Divine providence will be with thee and thine and help you with 
that helping which maketh truly rich, and adds no sorrow with it. 
So wisheth and so prayeth thy sincere Friend, 

John Townsend. 

P.S. I shall be truly glad to hear from thee. Please direct for me, 
pewterer, in London." ' 

This sketch of one of the most remarkable men of the eight- 
eenth century cannot be more fittingly closed than in the words of 
John G. Whittier, which occur in a now little read volume of 
the last century, to which he wrote the introduction : ^ 

"Woolman's saintliness was wholly unconscious. He seems 
never to have thought himself any nearer to the tender heart of 
God than the most miserable sinner to whom his compassion ex- 
tended. As he did not live, so neither did he die to himself. His 
prayer upon his deathbed was for others rather than for himself ; 
its beautiful humiHty and simple trust were marred by no sensual 
imagery of crowns and harps and golden streets and personal 
exaltations ; but tender and touching concern for suflfering hu- 
manity, relieved only by the thought of the paternity of God 
and of his love and omnipotence, alone found utterance in ever 
memorable words : "O Lord my God ! the amazing horrors of 
darkness were gathered about me, and covered me all over, and 
/ saiv no tiiay to go forth; I felt the depth and extent of the misery 
of my,fcllow creatures, separated from the Divine harmony, and 
it was greater than I could hear, and I was crushed down under 
it; I lifted up my hand, I stretched out my arm, but there was 
none to help me. ... In the depth of misery, O Lord, I re- 
membered that Thou art omnipotent ; that I had called thee Father, 
and I felt that I loved thee." 

^ Original in Devonshire House Library, London. 

= This passage is found in the introduction to "The Patience of Hope" by Dora 
Greenwell, published anonymously by Ticknor & Fields in 1863, and introduced to 
its American publishers through the efforts of the Quaker poet. 

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First Page of Journal, MS. A., Folio. 
In Possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 






I have often felt a motion of Love ^ to leave some hints of my 

experience of the Goodness of God : and pursuant thereto, in the 
36 year of my age, I begin this work. 

I was Born in Northampton, in Burlington county, in West 
Jersey, in the year of our Lord 1720 ^ & before I was seven years 
old, I began to be acquainted with the operations of Divine Love. 
Through the care of my Parents, I was taught to Read near as 
soon as I was capable of it,^ and as I went from School one 
seventh-day, I remember, while my companions went to play by 
the way, I went forward out of sight, and seting down. I read the 
twenty second chapter of the Revelations: "Pie showed me a pure 
River of Water of Life, clear as Crystal, proceeding out of the 
Throne of God and of the Lamb," &c. and in the reading of it, 
my mind was drawn to seek after that Pure Habitation, which 
I then believed God had prepared for his servants. The place 
where I sat, and the sweetness that attended my mind, remain 
fresh in my memory.* 

This and the like Gracious Visitations, had that effect upon 
me, that when boys used ill language, it troubled me, & through 
the continued Mercies of God, I was preserved from it. The 
pious instructions of my Parents were often fresh in my mind ^ 
when I happened to be among wicked children, and were of use 
to me. 

My Parents haveing a large family of children, used fre- 
quently on first-days after meeting, to put us to read in the Holy 

» MS. C "a desire." 

' MS. B "A. D." 

^ MS. C "and it was even then of use to me." 

^ MS C (erased) "as tho' the time since was much shorter." 

" MS. C "The Pious Instructions of Parents I esteem a Great Blessing — their 

care over me was often fresh in my Mind when I came Amongst wicked Children, 

And was of use to me." 



Scriptures, or some religious books, one after another, the rest 
sitting by without much conversation, which I have since often 
thought was a good practice/ From what I had read, I beheved 
there had been in past ages, people who Walked in Uprightness 
before God in a degree exceeding any that I knew, or heard of, 
now living: & the Apprehension of their being less Steadiness and 
firmness amongst people in this age than in past ages, often 
Troubled me while I was still young. 

I had a Dream about the ninth year of my age as follows : I 
saw the Moon rise near the West, & run a regular course East- 
ward, so swift that in about a quarter of an hour, she reached our 
Meridian, when there descended from her a small Cloud on a 
Direct line to the F2arth, which lighted on a pleasant Green about 
twenty yards from the Door of my Father's House (in which I 
thought I stood) and was immediately turned into a Beautiful 
green Tree. The Moon appeared to run on with Equal swift- 
ness, and soon set in the East, at which time the Sun arose at the 
place where it coihonly doth in the Sumer, and Shineing with 
full Radiance in a Serene air, it appeared as pleasant a morning as 
ever I saw. 

All this time I stood still in the door, in an Awfull frame of 
mind, and I observed that as heat increased by the Riseing Sun, it 
wrought so powerfully on the little green Tree, that the leaves 
gradually withered, and before Noon it appear'd dry & dead. 
There then appeared a Being, Small of Size, moving Swift from 
the North Southward, called a "Sun Worm." 

[Tho' I was A Child, this dream was instructive to me.] ^ 

Anotlier thing remarkable " in my childhood was, that once 
as I went to a neighbour's house, I saw, on the way, a Robbin 
sitting on her nest, and as I came near she went off, but having 
young ones, flew about, and with man}' cries expressed her Con- 
cern for them. I stood and threw stones at her, till one striking 
her, she fell down dead. At first I was pleas'd with the Exploit, 
but after a few minutes was seized with Horror, as haveing in 

> MS. C The rest of the paragraph appears in MSS, A & B; not in C. 

' MS. C This dream of his childhood, the first of many referred to or 
described by John Woolraan, must have made a strong impression, since it is 
given in full in all three of the manuscripts, with no change except the omission 
of the last line in A and B. 

» MS. C "While I was a little boy." 

I 1732 153 

a sportive way kild an Innocent Creature while she was carefull 
for her young. I beheld her lying dead, & thought those young 
ones for which she was so carefull must now perish for want 
of their dam to nourish them ; and after some painfull considera- 
tions on the subject, I climbed up the Tree, took all the young 
birds, and killed them supposing that better than to leave them to 
pine awaj' and die miserably : and believ'd in this case, that 
scripture proverb was fulfilled, "The tender mercies of the wicked 
are Cruel." I then went on my errand, but, for some hours, 
could think of little else but ^ [the Cruelties I had committed, and 
was much troubled.] 

Thus He whose tender Mercies are over all his works, hath 
placed that in the Human mind which incites to exercise good- 
ness towards every liveing creature and This being singly attended 
to, people become tender-hearted and sympathizing ; but being 
frequently & totally rejected, the mind shuts itself up in a Con- 
trary disposition. 

About the twelfth year of my age, my Father being abroad, 
my Mother reproved me for some misconduct, to which I made 
an Undutifull reply & the next first-day, as I was with my 
Father returning from Meeting, He told me he understood I had 
behaved amis to my Mother, and Advised me to be more carefull 
in future. I knew myself blameable, and in shame and confusion 
remained silent. Being thus awakened to a sense of my Wicked- 
ness, I felt remorse in my mind, and geting home, I retired and 
prayed to the Lord to forgive me ; and I do not remember that 
I ever after that, spoke unhandsomely to either of my Parents, 
however foolish in some other things. 

Having attained the age of Sixteen, I began to love wanton 
company: and though I was preserved from profane language 
or Scandalous conduct, Still I perceived a plant in me which 
produced much wild grapes. Yet my Merciful Father forsook me 
not utterly, but at times through his grace I was brought seriously 
to consider my ways, and the sight of my backsliding affected me 
with sorrow : but for want of rightly attending to the reproofs of 
Instruction, Vanity was added to Vanity, and Repentance. Upon 

^ MS. C "My conduct toward the poor old bird, which thoughts were very 
afflicting — I mention this to Shew how God, the parent of all creatures, hath placed 
that [MS. B "a principle"] in the Human mind which doth instruct and incite 
to Exercise Goodness toward All his creatures." 


the whole my mind was more and more AHenated from the Truth, 

and I hastened towards Destruction. While I meditate on the 
Gulf towards which I traveled, and reflect on my youthful Dis- 
obedience, my heart is affected with Sorrow.^ 

Advancing in age, the number of my Acquaintance increased, 
and thereby my way grew more difficult. Though I had hereto- 
fore found comfort in reading the Holy Scriptures, and thinking 
on heavenly things, I was now Estranged therefrom. I knew I 
was going from the flock of Christ, and had no resolution to 
return, hence serious reflections were uneasie to me, and Youthfull 
Vanities and Diversions my greatest pleasure. Runing in this 
Road I found many like myself, and we associated- in that which 
is reverse to true Friendship : but in this swift race it pleased 
God to Visit me with Sickness, so that I doubted of recovering: 
and then did Darkness, Horror and Amazement, with full force 
'seize me, even when my pain and distress of body was verry great; 
I thought it would have been better for me never to have had a 
being, than to see the day which I now saw. I was filled with 
Confusion, & in great affliction both of mind & body, I lay and 
bewailed myself.^ [I had nut confidence to lift up my cries to 
God, whom I had thus offended ; but in a deep sense of my great 
folly I was humbled before Him,] & at length that Word which 
is as a Fire and a Hamer, broke and dissolved my rebellious 
heart, and then my Cries were put up in contrition, and in the 
multitude of His mercies I found inward relief, and felt a close 
Engagement, that if he was pleased to Restore my health, I might 
walk Humbly before Him.' 

After my Recovery, this Exercise remained with me a consid- 
erable time,'' but, by degrees, giving way to }-outhfull vanities, 
they gained strength, and geting with wanton young people I " 
lost ground. The Lord had been verry Gracious, and Spoke 

> MSS. B & C "for these things I weep; mine Eye runeth down with Water." 

» MSS. B & C "were united." 

'MS. C "my misery:" the rest of sentence, to "at length," is wanting. 

• MS. C "I might serve him faithfully." 

^ MS. C "And I had hopes of Standing." 

' MS. C "let go my hold of Gods covenant. He had Spoken peace to me in 
a time of Bitterness, Yet I now Most Ungratefully turned again to folley. I 
felt sharp and Cuting Reproofs at limes, But did not get low Enough to Cry 
for help, for I loved Folly to that Degree that I had no resolution to leave it. 
1 was not so hardy as to Comit things Scandalous, but to Exceed in the Art of 
foolish Jesting, &c." 

I 1736 15s 

peace to me in the time of my distress, and I now most ungrate- 
fully turned again to folly, on which account, at times, I felt sharp 
reproof, but did not get low enough to Cry for help. I was not 
so hardy as to commit things scandalous, but to Exceed in Vanity, 
and promote myrth, was my chief study. Still I retained a love 
and esteem for pious people, and their company brought an Awe 
upon me. My Dear Parents several times Admonished me in 
the fear of the Lord, and their admonition entered into my heart, 
& had a good efifect for a season, but not geting deep enough to 
pray rightly, the tempter when he came found entrance.^ I 
remember once having spent a part of a day in wantonness, as I 
went to bed at night, there lay in a window near my bed a Bible, 
which I opened, and first cast my eye on the Text, "we lie down 
in our shame, and our confusion covers us." This I knew to be 
my case, and meeting with so unexpected a reproof, I was some- 
what Affected with it, and went to bed under remorse of con- 
science, which I soon cast off again. 

Thus time passed on, my heart was replenished with myrth 
and wantonness, while pleasing scenes of Vanity were presented 
to my Imagination,- till I attain'd the age of Eighteen years, near 
which time I felt the Judgments of God in my soul like a con- 
suming fire, and looking over my past life, the prospect was move- 
ing. I was often sad, and longed to be deliver'd from those vani- 
ties ; then again my heart was Strongly Inclined to them, and 
there was in me a sore conflict. At times I turned to folly, and 
then again sorrow and confusion took hold of me. In a while 
I resolved totally to leave off some of my vanities, but there 
was a secret reserve in my heart, of the more refined part of them, 
and I was not low enough to find true peace. Thus for some ^ 
months, I had great troubles and disquiet, there remaining in me 

^ MS. C "when he came, conquered me." 

^ MS. C "I most grievously Abused the Mercies of God, Forsaking him who 
had helped me in my Distress; with Abasement of mind I mention it. Still he 
Cast me not of utterly. Being turned of Eighteen years I felt a fresh Visitation; 
And his Judgments in my Soul were like consuming fire. And looking over my 
past life, the Prospect was moving, I was often Sad and longed to be delivered 
from those Vanities. Again at times my heart was so strongly Inclined toward 
them that the conflict was Sharp. Sometimes I turned to my follies. & tho the 
Lord was near me as A most Righteous Judge, yet I rebelled against him; then 
I found Sorow and confusion take hard on me; In a while I resolved to leave 
of some of my follies; yet as to the more refined part of them, I said in my heart, 
in this thing the Lord pardon me; which resolve Spoiled All my Religion" — 


an unsubjected will, which rendered my labours fruitless, till at 
length, through the Mercifull continuance of Heavenly Visitations, 
I was made to bow down in Spirit before the Most High. I 
remember ^ one evening I had spent some time in reading a pious 
author, and walking out a lone, I humbly prayed to the Lord for 
his help, that I might be delivered from those vanities which so 
ensnared me. . . ? Thus being brought low he helped me, and 
, as I learned to bear the Cross, I felt refresliment to come from 
his Presence : but not keeping in that Strength which gave victory 
I lost ground again. The sense of which greatly afflicted me and 
I sought Desarts and lonely places, and there with tears did con- 
fess my Sins to God, and humbly craved help of HIM, and I 
may say with Reverence he was near to me in my troubles, and 
in those times of Humiliation opened my ear to Discipline. 

I was now led to look seriously at the means by which I 
was drawn from the pure Truth, and I learned this. That if I 
would live in the life which the Faithful servants of God lived 
in, I must not go into company as heretofore in my own will, 
y but all the cravings of Sense must be governed by a Divine 
principle. In times of sorrow and abasement these Instructions 
were sealed upon me, and I felt the power of Christ prevail over 
all selfish desires, so that I was preserved in a good degree of 
steadiness, and being young and believing at that time that a 
single life was best for me, I was strengthened to keep from such 
company as had often been a snare to me. 

I kept steady to meetings, spent first-days in the afternoon 
chiefly in reading the scriptures and other good Books, and was 
early convinced in my mind that true Religion consisted in an 
j inward life, wherein the Heart doth Love and Reverence God the 
j, Creator, and learn to Exercise true Justice and Goodness, not 
only toward all men, but allso toward the Brute Creatures. That 
as the mind was moved by an inward Principle to Love God as 
an invisible. Incomprehensible Being, by the same principle it 
was moved to love him in all his manifestations in the Visible 
world. That as by his breath the flame of life was kindled in 
all Animal and Sensible creatures, to say we Love God as unseen, 

' MS. C "And now I come to a Winter Evening which to me is Memoriable." 
''MS. C "I found help in my distress, and through faith, Mountains were re- 

1 1740 157 

and at the same time Exercise cruelty toward the least creature 
moving by his life, or by Hfe derived from Him, was a Contra- 
diction in itself. 

I found no narrowness respecting Sects and Opinions, but 
believe that sincere upright-hearted people, in Every society who 
truly love God were accepted of HIM. 

As I lived under the Cross, and simply followed the openings 
of Truth, my mind from day to day was more Enlightened, my 
former acquaintance were left to judge of me as they would, for 
I found it safest for me to live in private and keep these things 
sealed up in my own breast. While I silently ponder on that 
change which was wrought in me, I find no language equal to it, 
nor any means to convey to another a clear idea of it. I looked 
upon the works of God in this Visible Creation, and an awfull- 
ness covered me: my heart was tender and often contrite, and a 
universal Love to my fellow Creatures increased in me. This will 
be understood by such who have troden in the same path. 

Some glances of Real beauty is percieveble in their faces, who 
dwell in true meekness. Some tincture of true Harmony in the 
sound of that voice to which Divine Love gives utterance, & 
Some appearance of right order in their temper and Conduct, 
whose passions are fully regulated, yet all these do not fully 
show forth that inward life to such who have not felt it ; but 
this white stone and new name is known rightly to such only 
who have it. 

Now tho' I had been thus Strengthened to bear the Cross, I 
still found myself in great danger, having many weaknesses 
Attending me, and strong Temptations to wrestle with, in the 
feeling whereof I frequently withdrew into private places, and 
often with tears besought the Lord to help me, whose gracious 
ear was open to my cry. 

t All this time I lived with my Parents, and wrought on the 
plantation, and having had schooling pretty well for a planter, I 
used to improve winter evenings, and other leisure times, and 
being now in the Twenty first year of my age, a man in much 
business at Shopkeeping and Baking, asked me if I would hire 
with him to tend Shop and keep books. I ^ acquainted my Father 
with the proposal, and, after some deliberation it was agreed for 

' MS. C "told my Father of the offer." 


me to go. [I had for a considerable time found my mind less 
given to Husbandry than heretofore, having often in vievi^ some 
other way of living.^] 

At home I had lived retired, and now having a prospect of 
being much in the way of company, I felt frequent and fervent 
Cries in my heart to God the Father of Mercies, that he would 
preserve me from all Taint & Corruption. That in this more 
public Employ, I might serve Him my Gracious Redeemer, in 
that Humility and self Denial with which I had been in a small 
degree exercised in a verry private life. 

The man who employed me furnished a Shop in Mountholly, 
about five miles from my Father's house & Six from his own 
and there I lived alone, & tended his Shop. Shortly after my 
settlement here, I was visited by several young people, my former 
acquaintances, who knew not but vanities would be as agreeable 
to me now as ever,^ [and at these times I cryed unto the Lord 
in Secret for wisdom and Strength,] for I felt myself Encom- 
passed with difficulties, and had fresh Ocasion to bewail the 
follies of time past, in contracting a familiarity with a Libertine 
people. And as I had now left my Fathers house outwardly, I 
found my Heavenly Father to be mercifull to me beyond what 
I can express. 

By day I was much among people, and had many tryals to 
go through, but in evenings I was mostly alone, and may with 
thankfulness acknowledge, that in those times the Spirit of Sup- 
plication was often poured upon me,'' . . . under which I was 
frequently exercised, and felt my Strength renewed. 

[In a few months after I came here, my Master bought 
several Scotch men-servants, from on board a Vessel, and brought 
them to Mountholly to sell & having sold several the rest were 
left with me,] ' one of which was taken sick, & died. The latter 
part of his sickness, he, being delirious, used to curse and Swear 
most sorrowfully, and after he was buried, I was left to sleep 
alone the next night in the same chamber where he died. I 
perceived in me a Timorousness : I knew however I had not 

' MS. C This sentence occurs in MSS. A ami C, but is wanting in B. 
^ MS. C "At these times I looked to the Lord for help, for I felt myself 
very weak." 

" MS, C "And I called upon the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God," 
* MS, G This sentence is found in MSS, A & C; not in B. 

I I74I 159 

injured the man, but had assisted in taking care of him according 
to my capacity, and I was not free to ask any one, on that [occa- 
sion,] ^ to sleep with me: nature was feble, but every tryal was a 
fresh incitement to give myself up wholly to the service of God, | 
for I found no helpei^like Him in times of Trouble. / 

After a while my former Acquaintance gave over Expecting 
me as one of their company, and I began to be known to some 
whose conversation was helpful to me. And now, as I had 
Experienced the Love of God, through Jesus Christ, to Redeem 
me from many polutions, and to be a constant succour to me 
through a Sea of conflicts, with which no person was fully 
acquainted, and as my heart was often enlarged in this Heavenly 
Principle, so I felt a tender compassion for the youth ^ who 
remain'd entangled in the same snares which had entangled me. 
From one month to another, this Love & tenderness increased,'' 
[and my mind was more strongly engaged for the good of my 
fellow-creatures.] I went to meetings in an awfull frame of 
mind, and endeavoured to be inwardly acquainted with the lan- 
guage of the True Shephered, and one day . . .■* being under a ; 
Strong Exercise of Spirit, I stood up, and said some words in a 
meeting, but not keeping close to the [Divine opening,] " I said 
more than was required of me & being soon sencible of my error, 
I was afflicted in mind some weeks, without any light or comfort, 
even to that degree that I could take satisfaction in nothing. I 
remembered God, and was troubled and in the depth of my dis- 
tress he had pitty upon me, and sentjhe Corofor-ter. I then felt 
forgiveness for my offence, and my mind became calm and quiet, 
being truly thankfull to my Gr aciou s Redeemer for his mercies. 
And after this, feeling the spring of Divine Love opened, and a 
Concern to Speak, I said a few words in meeting in which I found 
peace ; this I believe was about six weeks from the first time, and 
as I was thus humbled and disciplined under the Cross, my under- 
standing became more strengthened to distinguish the language of 
the pure Spirit which inwardly moves upon the [heart,] "^ and 

1 MS. C "Account." 

^ MS. C "young people." 

^ MS. C "and I found it too strong and forcible to be much longer Confined 
to my own breast." 

* MS. C "till one day, feeling the Word of the Lord in my heart." 
"MS. C "True Opener." 

* MS. C "intellectual deep." 



taught me to wait in Silence sometimes many weeks together, 
until I felt that rise which prepares the creature to Stand like a 
Trumpet, through which the Lord Speaks to his [flock.] ^ 

From an inward purifying, and stedfast abideing under it, 
springs a lively operative desire for the good of others. All faith- 
ful people are not called to the publick ministry but whoever are 
called to it, are called to minister of that which they have taisted 
and handled spiritually. The outward modes of worship are 
various, but wheresoever [men] are true Ministers of Jesus 
Christ, it is from the operation of his Spirit upon their hearts, 
first purifying them, and thus giving them a [feeling] sense of the 
conditions of others. This truth was early fixed in my mind, 
and I was taught to watch the pure opening, and to take heed 
least while I was standing to speak, my own will should get 
upermost, and cause me to utter words from worldly wisdom, and 
depart from the Chanel of the true Gospel Ministry. 

In the management of my outward affairs I may say with 
thankfulness I found Truth to be my Support, and I was respected 
in my Masters Family who came to live in Mountholly within 
two years after my ^ going there [1742.] . . . 

About the twenty third year of my age I had many fresh and 
heavenly openings, in respect to the care and providence of the 
Almighty over his creatures in general, and over man as the most 
noble amongst those which are visible, and Being clearly convinced 
in my Judgmt that to place my whole trust in God was best for 
me, I felt renewed engagements that in all things I might act on 
an inward principle of Virtue, and pursue worldly business no 
further than as Truth open'd my way therein. 

About the time called Christmas I observed many people from 
tlie Country, and dwellers in Town, who resorting to publick 
houses, spent their time in drinking and vain sports, tending 
to corrupt one another, on which account I was much troubled. 
At one house in particular there was [much disorder,] " and I 
believed it was a duty laid on me to go and speak to the master 

' MS. C "people." 

'MS. C "As my mind was often inward, Meditateing on God's Providence, 
Manifested in the Visible world, I was more and more Confirmed in my Judgment 
that to place my whole trust in him was best for me, and laboured from one 
month to Another to come into that condition of Trusting in God with a,\l my 
heart, and not to lean to my own understanding." 

^ MS. C "uncomon Reveling." 

I 1743 161 

of that house. I considered I was young, and that several Elderly 
friends in Town had opportunity to See these things, and though 
I would [gladly] ^ have been excused, yet I could not feel my 
mind clear. The Exercise was heavy, and as I was Reading 
what the Almighty Said to Ezekiel, respecting his duty as a 
watchman, the matter was set home more clearly, and then 
with prayer and tears, I besought the Lord for his Assistance, 
who in loving kindness gave me a Resigned heart. Then at a 
sutable Oportunity, I went to the publick house, and Seeing the 
man amongst a company, I went to him and told him I wanted 
to speak with him, so we went aside, and there in the Fear and 
dread of the x\lmighty I Exprest to him what rested on my mind, 
which he took kindly, and afterward showed more regard to me 
than before. In a few years after he died, midle-aged, and I 
often thought that had I neglected my duty in that case, it would 
have given me great trouble and I was humbly thankfull to my 
Gracious Father,- [who had supported me therein.] 

My Employer having a Negro woman sold her, and directed 
me to write a bill of Sale, The man being waiting who had 
bought her. The thing was Sudden, and though the thoughts of 
writing an Instrument of Slavery for one of my fellow creatures 
felt uneasie, yet I remembered I was hired by the year ; that it 
was my master who [directed] ' me to do it, and that it was an 
Elderly man, a member of our society who bought her, so through^ 
weakness I _gave way, and wrote it, but at the Executing it I was 
so Afflicted in my mind, that I said before my Master and the 
friend, that I believed Slavekeeping to be a practice inconsistent 
with the Christian Religion ; this in some degree abated my uneasi- 
ness, )'et as often as I reflected seriously upon it I thought I 
should have been clearer, if I had desired to be Excused from it, 
as a thing against my conscience, for such it was. [And] some 
time after this a young man of our Society, spake to me to write 
[an instrument of Slavery], he having lately taken a Negro into 
his house. I told him I was not easie to write it, for though 
many [people] kept slaves in our society as in others, I still 
believed the practice was not right, and desired to be excused from 

> MS. C "feign." 

' MS. C "that by his aid I had discharged what he lay'd upon me. Within 

a year after my Coming to MounthoUy, my Master ^" 

' MS. C "bid," 

1 62 


doing the writing. I spoke to him in good will, and he told me, 
that keeping slaves was not altogether agreable to his mind, but 
that the slave being a gift made to his wife, he had accepted of 
her. . . .1 

^ MS. C "from some of her friends, and so we parted.'* 



My Esteemed Friend Abraham Farrington/' being about to 
make a Visit to Friends ^ on the Eastern side of this Province, 
and having no companion he proposed to me to go with him, and 
after a conference with some Elderly friends, . . .^ I agreed to 

da mo 
go so we set off on the 25. 9. 1743 ; had an Evening Meeting at a 
Tavern in Brunswick, a Town in which none of our society dwelt. 
The room was full, & the people quiet. Thence to Amboy, and 
had an Evening meeting in the Court-house, to which came many 
people, amongst whom were several Members of Assembly, they 
[being] ^ in that town on the publick affairs of the Province. In 
both these meetings my Antient Companion was Enlarged in the 
Love of the Gosf>el. Thence we * were at Woodbridge, Rahway, 
Plainfield and had six or seven '^ other meetings in places where 
Friends meetings are not Usually held, being made up chiefly of 
Presbyterians & my beloved companion was frequently Strength- 
ened to hold forth the word of life amongst them. As for me I 
was frequently Silent through the meetings, and when I spake, 
it was with much care, that I might speak only what Truth 
opened ; my mind was often tender, and I learned some profitable 
lessons ; we were out about two weeks. 

[Near'' this time being on some outward business in which 
several families were concerned, and which was attended with 
difficulties, some things relating thereto not being clearly stated, 
nor rightly understood by all, there arose some heat in the minds 
of the parties, and one valuable friend got off his watch. I had 



preach. [Ed,] 



has an erasure, probably of the 



"then Siting there." 



"to Woodbridge and thereaway." 






This entire paragraph is wanting. 


a great regard for him, & felt a Strong inclination after matters 
were settled to speak to him concerning his conduct in that case ; 
but I being a youth, and he far advanced in age and Experience, 
my way appeared verry difficult, but after some days delibera- 
tion, and inward seeking to the Lord for assistance, I was made 
subject, so that I Expressed what lay upon me in a way which 
became my youth and his years : and though it was a hard task 
to me, it was well taken, and I believe was usefull to us both.] 
Having now been several years with my Employer, and he 
doing less at Merchandize than heretofore, [I was thoughtfuU of 
some other way of business,]^ perceiving Merchandize to be 
attended with much cumber, in the way of trading in these parts. 
My mind through the power of Truth was in a good degree 
weaned from the desire of outward greatness, and I was learning 
I to be content with real conveniencies that were not costly ; so 
/that a way of life free from much Entanglements, appeared best 
/ for me, tho' the income was small. I had several offers of busi- 
ness that appeared profitable, but saw not my way clear to 
accept of them, as believing the business proposed would be 
attended with more outward care & cumber than was required 
of me to engage in. I saw that a humble man, with the Blessing 
of the Lord, might live on a little, and that where the heart was 
set on greatness, success in business did not satisfie the craving; 
but that cofnonly with an increase of wealth, the desire for wealth 
increased. There was a care on my mind so to pass my time, as 
■ to things outward, that nothing might hinder me from the most 
steady attention to the voice of the True Shepherd. 

[My Employer though now a Retailer of goods, was by 
trade a Taylor, and kept a servant man at that business, and I 
began to think about learning the trade,] - Expecting that if I 
should settle I might by this trade and a little retailing of goods 
get a liveing in a plain way without the load of great business. 
I mentioned it to my Employer and we soon agreed on terms, 
and then when I had leisure from the affairs of merchandize I 
worked with his man. I believed the hand of Providence pointed 
Vout this business for me, and was taught to be content with it, 

^ MS. C "what way I should take for a living In Case I should settle" 

(i.e. marry). 

=* MS. C "My business in the Shop growing Slack, it came to my mind to 
learn the Taylor's trade." 

n 1746 165 

though "^ [I felt at times a disposition that would have sought for 
something greater.] But through the revelation of Jesus Christ, 
I had seen the happiness of Humility, and there was an earnest 
desire in me to enter deep into it, and at times this desire arose 
to a degree of fervent Supplication, wherein my Soul was so 
environed with Heavenly Light and Consolation, that things were 
made easie to me which had been otherwise. 

In the year [ ] - my Employer's wife died. She was a 
virtuous Woman, and Generally beloved of her neighbours, and 
soon after this he left off shop-keeping and we parted. I then 
wrought at my trade as a Taylor, carefully attended meetings for 
worship and discipline, and found an Enlargement of Gospel Love 
in my mind, and therein a concern to visit friends in some of the 
back settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia, & being thought- 
full about a Companion I exprest it to my beloved Friend Isaac 
Andrews,-^ who then told me that he had drawings there, and 
also to go through Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina. After 
considerable time pass't, and Several conferences with him, I felt 
easie to accompany him throughout if way opened for it. I 
opened the case in our Monthly Meeting, . . .'' and Friends 
Expressing there unity therewith, we obtained Certificates to 
travel as Companions, his from Haddonfield, and mine from 

da mo 
We left our own province on the 12. 3. 1746, had several 
meetings in the uper part of Chester County, and near Lancaster, 
in some of which the Love of Christ prevailed, uniting us together 
in his service. Thence we crossed the River Susquehannah, and 
had several meetings in a new settlement, called Red Lands, the 
oldest of which did not exceed ten years. It is the poorer sort of 
people that comonly begin to improve remote Deserts : with a 
small stock they have houses to build. Lands to clear and fence, 
Corn to raise. Clothes to provide, and Children to Educate. That 
Friends who visit such may well sympathize with them in their 
hardships in the wilderness. [And though * the best entertain- 

^ MS. C "it was reverse to the creaturely will." 

2 A blank is left in MS. for date. There is no clue as to the master's name. 
" MS. C "exactly as it was." 

< MS. C "But to Express uneasiness at Coarse Entertainment, when in Good 
will they give us their Best, does not become the Disciples of Christ." 



merit such can give, may Seem coarse to some who are Used to 
Cities or old Settled places, it becomes the Disciples of Christ to 
be content with it.] Our hearts were sometimes enlarged in the 
love of our Heavenly Father amongst these people, and the 
sweet Influence of his Spirit supported us through some diffi- 
culties. To Him be the praise. 

We passed on to Manoquacy, Fairfax, Hopewell, and Shen- 
ando,^ and had meetings, some of which were comfortable and 
Edefying. From Shanando we set of in the afternoon for the 
old Settlements of Friends in Virginia, and the first night we with 
our pilot lodged in the woods, our horses feeding near us, but 
he being poorly provided with a horse, and we young and having 
good horses, were free the next day to part with him and did so, 
. . .^ in two days [besides the first afternoon] we reached to our 
friend John Cheadles,'^ in Virginia. 

We took the meetings in our way thro' Virginia ; were, in 
some degree, baptized into a feeling sense of the conditions of the 
/people,^ [& our Exercise in general was more painfull] in these 
\)ld Settlements, than it had been amongst the back inhabitants. 
But through the Goodness of our Heavenly Father, the well of 
Living Waters was at times opened to Our Encouragement, and 
the refreshment of the sincere hearted. We went on to Perqui- 
mans River in North Carolina, had several meetings which were 
large, and found some openness in those parts, and a hopefull 
appearance amongst the young people. So we turned again to 
Virginia, and attended most of the meetings which we had not 
been at before. Labouring amongst Friends in the Love of Jesus 
Christ, as ability was given : and thence went to the Mountains, 
up James River to a new settlement, and had several Meetings 
amongst the people,* [some of whom had lately joined in mem- 
bership to our society.] 

In our Journeying to and fro, we found some honest-hearted 
friends, who appeared to be concerned for the Cause of Truth 
among a backsliding people. We crossed from Virginia, over 

^ Shenandoah. 

- MS. C "Once in a while, we met with a house and Enquired. And for our 
Money took such refreshment as the people had." 

" MS. C "The pure Lamb-like Nature of Jesus Christ being too much departed 
from by many of them; and our Exercise in genrall was Somewhat painfull." 

* MS. C "some of whom had professed our way but A short time." 

II 1746 167 

the river Patowmac/ at Hoe's ferry, and made a general Visit 
to the meetings of Friends on the Western Shore of Maryland 
and were at their Quarterly meeting. . . .- We had some hard 
Labour amongst them, Endeavouring to discharge our duty 
honestl}- as way opened in the Love of Truth, and thence taking 
sundry meetings in our way, we passed homeward, where, through 

da mo 
the Favour of Divine Providence we reached y" 16. 6. 1746. 
And I may say that through the assistance of the Holy Spirit 
which mortifies selfish desires, my Companion and I traveled in 
harmony and parted in the nearness of True Brotherly Love. — 
[We Travelled, by estimation, fifteen hundred miles and were 
out three months and four days.]^ 

Two things were remarkable to me in this journey. First, in 
regard to my Entertainment. When I eat drank and lodged free- 

"cost with people who lived in Ease on the hard toyl of their slaves 

t; felt.uneasie, and as my mind was inward to the Lord, I found, 
from place to place, this uneasiness return upon me at times 
through the whole visit. Where the masters bore a good share of 

\ht burthen, and lived frugally, so that their Servants were well 
provided for, and their labour moderate, I felt more easie; but 
where they lived in a costly way, and laid heavy burthens on their 
Slaves, my exercise was often great, and I frequently had conver- 
sation with them in private concerning it. Secondly, This trade 
of importing [them] ^ from [their native country] ^ being much 
Encouraged amongst them, and the white people and their chil- 
dren so generally liveing without much labour was frequently the 
subject of my serious thought, and I Saw in these Southern Prov-! 
inces, so many Vices and Corruptions increased by this trade andi 
this way of life, that it appeared to me as a dark gloominess hang- 
ing over the Land, and though now many willingly run into it, 
yet in future the Consequence will be grievous to posterity. I 

M express it as it hath appeared to me, not at once, nor twice, but as 
a matter fixed on my mind. 

Soon after my return home I felt an increasing concern for 

^ Potomac. 

= MS. C "At HerrinCg) Creek." 

^ MS. B This sentence omitted. 

* Slaves. 

' MS. C Guinea. 


da mo 

Friends on our Sea coast, and on the 8. 8. 1746, with the Unity 
of Friends, and in Company with my beloved Friend and Neigh- 
bour Peter Andrews," Brother to my before mentioned com- 
panion, we set forward and Visited the meetings generally about 
Salem, Cape May, Great and Little Egg Harbor, and had meet- 
ings at Barneget, Manahockin, and Squan,^ and so to the Yearly 
Meeting at Shrewsberry. Through the goodness of the Lord way 
was opened, . . .^ and the Strength of Divine Love was some- 
times felt in our assemblies, to the Comfort and help of those 
who were rightly concerned before Him. We were out twenty- 
two days, and rode by Computation 340 mile. [At Shrewsberry ^ 
Yearly Meeting, we met with our Dear Friends Michael Light- 
foot " and Abraham Farrington," who had good service in that 
great Assembly.] 

The winter following died my Eldest Sister, Elizabeth Wool- 
man,^^ Jun'' of the small-pox, aged 31 years. She was from her 
youth of a thoughtful disposition and very compassionate to her 
acquaintances in their Sickness or distress, being ready to help 
as far as she could. She was dutifull to her parents, one instance 
whereof follows. It happened that she and two of her Sisters, 
being then near the Estate of young women, had an inclination one 
first-day after meeting to go on a visit to some other young 
women at some distance off, whose company I believe would have 
done them no good. They expresst their desire to our Parents, 
who were dissatisfied with the proposal, and stoped them. The 
same day as my Sisters and I were together, & they talking about 
their disappointment, Elizabeth expressed her Contentment under 
it, as believing it was for their good. . . .* 

A few years after she attained to mature age, through the 
f Gracious Visitations of God, she was Strengthened to live a self- 
I denying, exemplary life, giving herself much to reading and 

* Manasquan. 

' MS. C "in the Meetings, to the comfort of them who tear And Serve God." 
•MS. B Not in C. 

* MS. C "Elizabeth expressed her Satisfaction In being put by, as believ- 
ing it to be best for them, Adding this Ryme — 

Such as thy companions be, 

So will people think of thee." 

11 1747 169 

The following letter may ^ [show in some degree] her disposi- 

da mo 
"Haddonfield, i. 11. 1743. 
Beloved brother John Woolman 

In that Love which desires the welfare of all men I write unto 
da mo 
thee I rec'd thine, dated 2. 10. last with which I was comforted. My 
spirit is bowed with thankfullness that I should be remembered, who 
am unworthy, but the Lord is full of Mercy, and his goodness is 
Extended to the meanest of his creation, therefore, in his Infinite 
Love, he hath pitied and Spared, and Shewed Mercy, that I have not 
been cut of nor quite lost ; but at times I am refreshed & comforted 
as it were with the glimpse of his presence, which is more to the 
Immortal part than all which this world can afford. So with desires 
for thy preservation with my own I remain thy affectionate sister 


The fore part of her illness she was in great Sadness and 
dejection of mind, of which she told one of her Intimate friends, 
& said. When I was a young girl I was wanton & airy, but I 
thought I had thoroughly repented for it; and added, I have of 
late had great satisfaction in meetings. Though she was thus 
disconsolate, still she retained a hope, which was as an anchor 
to her, and some time after the same friend came again to see 
her, to whom she mentioned her former Expressions, & said It 
is otherwise now, for the Lord hath rewarded me seven fold, 
and I am unable to express the Greatness of his love manifested 
to me. Her disorder appearing dangerous, and our mother being 
sorrowfull she took notice of it, & said. Dear mother, weep not 
for mee ; I go to my God, and niany times with an audible voice 
uttered praise to her Redeemer. 

A Friend comeing some miles to see her the morning before 
she died, asked her how she did ; she answered, I have had a hard 
night, but shall not have another such, for I shall die, & it will 
be well with my soul & accordingly died the Next Evening. 

The following Ejaculations were found amongst her write- 
ings ; wrote I believe at four times : 

1 MS. C "give the Reader some Idea of." 


1. Oh that my head were as waters & mine eyes as a fountain of 
Tears, that I might weep day & night untill acquainted with my God. 

2. O Lord that I may enjoy thy presence, or else my time is Lost, 
& my life a Snare to my Soul. 

3. O Lord that I may receive bread from tliy Table, and that 
thy Grace may abound in me. 

4. O Lord that I may be acquainted with thy presence, that I 
may be Seasoned with thy Salt, that tliy grace may abound in me. 

Of late I found drawings in my mind to Visit Friends in 
New England and thereaway ; and having an Oportunity of 
joyning in company with my Beloved Friend Peter Andrews," 
we having obtained certificates from our Monthly Meeting set 

da mo 
forward on y*" 16. 3. 1747 and reached the Yearly Meeting at 
Long Island at which were our Friends, Samuel Nottingham '* 
from England, John Griffith,^" Jane Hoskins,^" and Elizabeth 
Hudson ^^ from Pennsylvania, and Jacob Andrews '^ from Ches- 
terfield, several of whom were favoured in their public exercise, 
& through the goodness of the Lord we had some Edefying meet- 
ings. After this Samuel, John and Jacob went toward Rhode 
Lsland, and my companion and I visited [the Meetings of] Friends 
on Long Island, and through the mercies of God we were helped 
in the work. Besides going to the setled meetings of Friends, we 
were at a General Meeting at Setocket,' chiefly made up of other 
Societies, and had a meeting at Oyster Bay, in a Dwelling house 
at which were many people: At the first of which there was not 
-much said by way of Testimony, but it was I believe a good 
meeting at the latter through the springing up of Living waters 
it was a day to be thankfully remembred. Having visited the 
Island we went over to the main, taking meetings in our way to 
Oblong, Nine Partners, and New Millford. 

In these back settlements we met with several people, who, 
through the iniediate workings of the spirit of Christ in their 
minds, were drawn from the vanities of the world, to an inward 
acquaintance with Him. They were Educated in the way of 
the presbeterians.^ 

' Setauket, L. I. 

' MS. C cnd3 at this point. It contains forty-eight quarto pages, and in 
style has the freshness and vivacity of the younger man. 

II 1747 171 

A considerable number of y° youth, members of that society, 
were used often to spend their time together in merriment, and 
some of the principal young men of that company being Visited 
by the powerful workings of the Spirit of Christ, and thereby led 
humbly to take up His cross, could no longer joyn in those vani- 
ties : and as these stood steadfast to that inward convincement, 
they were made a blessing to some of their former companions, 
so that through the power of Truth several were brought into a 
close Exercise concerning the Eternal well being of their Souls : 
these young people continued for a time to frequent their public 
worship, and besides that had meetings of their own, which meet- 
ings were a while allowed by their preacher, who sometimes met 
with them, but in time their judgment in matters of religion dis- 
agreeing with some of the Articles of the presbeterians, their 
meetings were disapproved by that society ; and such of them who 
stood firm to their duty as it was inwardly manifested, had many 
difficulties to go through. Their meetings were in a while 
dropped, some of them returning to the presbeterians, and others 
of them after a time joyUed to our Religious Society. I had 
conversation with some of the latter, to my help and Edefication, 
and believe several of them are acquainted with the nature of 
that worship which is performed in Spirit and in Truth. 

From hence accompanied by Amos Powel,*''' a Friend from 
Long Island, we rode through the Colony of Connecticut, chiefly 
inhabited by Presbeterians, who were generally civil to us, so far 
as I saw : and after three days rideing, we came amongst friends 
in the Colony of Rhode Island. We visited Friends in and about 
Newport and Dartmouth, and the meetings generaly in those 
parts, and then to Boston and proceeded Eastward as far as 
Dover, and then returned to Newport, and not far from thence, 
met our Friend Thomas Gawthrop ^* from England, who was on 
a visit to these parts. From Newport we Sailed to Nantucket ; 
was there near a week, and from thence came over to Dartmoth, 
and having finished our Visit in these parts, we crossed the Sound 
from New London to the East end of Long Island, and taking 
some meetings on the Island, proceeded homeward ; where we 

da mo 
reached the 13. 7. 1747 having rode about 1500 and sailed 150. 
In this journey I may say in general we were sometimes in much 


weakness, and laboured under discouragement, & at other times 
through the renewed manifestations of Divine Love we had 
seasons of Refreshment wherein the power of Truth prevailed. 

We were taught by renewed experience to labour for an inward 
\stillness; at no time to seek for words, but to live in the Spirit 
of Truth, and utter that to the people which Truth opened in us. 
My beloved Companion and I belonged both to one Meeting, came 
forth in the ministry near the same time,^ and were inwardly 
united in the work. He was about thirteen years older than I, 
bore the heaviest burthen, and appear'd to be an instrument of 
the greatest use. 

Finding some concern to visit Friends in the lower Counties on 
Delaware, and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and having 
an oportunity to joyn with my Antient Well beloved friend John 

da mo 
Sykes,''^ we obtained certificates and set of the 7. 8. 1748; were 
at the meetings of Friends in the lower Counties,- attended the 
Yearly Meeting at Little Creek, and made a visit to chief of the 
meetings on the Eastern Shore, and so home by the way of Not- 
tingham, we were abroad about six weeks and rode by computa- 
tion about 550 miles. 

Our exercise at times was heavy but through the goodness of 
the Lord we were often refreshed, and I may say by experience, 
"He is a Strong Hold in the day of trouble." Though our 
Society in these parts appeared to me to be in a declineing condi- 
tion, yet I believe the Lord hath a people amongst them, who 
labour to serve him in uprightness but have many defeculties to 

^ Burlington M. M. of Ministers and Elders has a minute dated "27th day 
of 6mo. [Augustl 174.3," recognizing tliem both in the ministry. There is no 
record at Dover of this visit, nor of the later one in 1760. 

- Of Pennsylvania — i.e., Newcastle, Kent and Sussex, now the state of Delaware. 



-a as 





Marriage Certificate of John Woolman and Sarah Ellis 

8 mo. (October) 18, 1749. 

/w Possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 



[About this time believing it good for me to settle^ and 
thinking seriously about a Companion, my heart was turned to 
the Lord with desires that He would give me Wisdom to proceed 
therein agi-eeable to his Will, and he was pleased to give me a 
well enchned Damsel, Sarah Ellis,^^ to whom I was married 

da mo 
y^ 18:8: 1749.] 

In the fall of the year 1750 died my father Samuel Woolman^^ 
with a fever aged about Sixty years. 

In his life time he manifested much care for us his children, 
that in our youth we might learn to fear the Lord, often 
endeavouring to imprint in our minds the true principles of 
virtue, & was particularly concerned to cherish in us a spirit of 
mercy and tenderness, not only towards poor people, but allso 
towards all creatures of which we had the command. 

After my return from Carolina in 1746, I made some observa- 
tions on keeping Slaves, which I had some time before shewed 
him, and he perused the manuscript, proposed a few alterations, 
and appeared well satisfied that I found a concern on that account, 
and in his last sickness, as I was watching with him one night, 
he being so far spent that there was no expectation of his Recov- 
ery, but had the perfect use of his understanding, he asked me 
concerning the manuscript, whether I expected soon to offer it 
to the Overseers of the press: and after some conversation there- 
upon he said, "I have all along been deeply Affected with the 
Opression of the poor Negroes ; and now at last my concern for 
them is as great as ever." 

By his direction I had wrote his will in a time of health, & he 

^ MS. B This paragraph on his marriage only appears in the final folio, MS. A, 
and is wanting altogether in B, where it has been supplied on a blank leaf in 
a later hand, probably that of Samuel Comfort. 


that night desired me to read it to him, which I did ; and he said 
it was agreable to his mind, he then made mention of his end, 
which he believed was now near ; and signified, that tho' he was 
sensible of many imperfections in the course of his life, yet his 
Experience of the power of Truth, and the Love & Goodness of 
God from Time to Time even till now was such, that he had no 
doubt but that in leaving this Hfe, he should enter into a life 
more happy. 

The next day his Sister Elizabeth " came to see him & told 
him of the decease of his sister Anne ^"^ who died a few days 
before, he then said, I reckon sister Anne was free to leave this 
world. Elizabeth said she was. He then said, I also am free to 
leave it; and being then in great weakness of body he said in a 
Solemn maner, I shall shortly go to rest. He continued in a 
weighty frame of mind, and was sensible till near the last. 

da mo 

2. 9. 1751 feeling an Openness in my mind to Visit Friends 
at the great Meadows, in the uper part of this Province, with the 
unity of our monthly meeting, I went there, and had some search- 
ing laborious Exercise amongst the inhabitants of that place, but 
found inward peace therein ;^ [was out nine days, & rode about 
170 miles.] 


In the 9, 1753, in company with my well Esteemed Friend 
John Sykes,^^ and with the unity of Friends, we traveled about 
two weeks visiting the meetings of Friends in Bucks county. We 
laboured in the Love of the Gospel, according to the measure 
received, and through the mercies of Him who is strength to the 
poor that trust in Him, we found satisfaction in our visit: and 
in the ensuing winter way opening to visit Friends' families within 
the Compass of our monthly meeting, partly by the labours of 
two friends from Pennsylvania, I joyned some in it, having had a 
desire some years to see it go forward. 

About this time a person at some distance lying sick, his 
brother came to me to write his will. I knew he had Slaves ; and 
asking his Brother, was told he intended to leave them slaves to 
his children. As writing is a profitable employ ; as offending sober 
people is a disagreeable task to me, I was straitened in my mind ; 

* MS. B Next sentence omitted. 

in ■ , 1754 175 

but as I looked to the Lord, he Enclined my heart to his Testi- 
mony, and I told the man, that I believed the practice of continu- 
ing slavery to these people was not Right; and had a scruple in 
my mind against doing writings of that kind : That though many 
of our society kept them slaves, still I was not easie to be con- 
cerned with it, and desired to be excused from going to write 
the Will. I spake to him in the fear of the Lord, and he made 
no reply to what I said, but went away : he himself had some 
concerns in the practice, and I thought he was displeased with 
me. In this case I had a fresh confirmation, that acting contrary 
to present outward interest, from a ^ [motive of Divine love, and 
in] regard to Truth and Righteousness, and thereby incuring the 
resentments of people, opens the way to a treasttre which is 
better than silver, and to a friendship Exceeding the friendship 
of men. 

da mo 
[On y* 7 2 1754 at Night I dreamed that I was walking in 
an Orchard, it appear'd to be about the middle of the afternoon ; 
when on a Sudden I saw two lights in the East, resembling two 
Suns, but of a dull & gloomy Aspect: the one appeared about 
the highth of the Sun at three hours high, and the other more 
northward, and one third lower. In a few Minutes the air in the 
East appeared to be mingled with Fire, & like a Terrible Storm 
comeing Westward, the Streams of Fire reached the Orchard 
where I stood, but I felt no harm. I then found one of my 
Acquaintance Standing near me, who was greatly distressed in 
mind at this unusual appearance. My mind felt calm, and I 
said to my Friend, me must all once die, and if it please the Lord 
that our Death be m this Way, it's good for us to be resigned. 
Then I walked to a House hard by [at a small distance] and 
going upstairs saw People with sad and troubled Aspects, amongst 
whom I passed into another Room, where the floor was only some 
loose Boards, there I sat down alone by a Window, and looking 
out, I saw in the South three great Red Streams, standing at 
Equal distance from each other, the Bottom of which appear'd 

* Erasure in MS. A. A memorandum on back of index leaf of John Woolman*3 

da mo 
large Account Book reads, "Negro James bound 2 i 1754 to Serve 21 years, that is 

da mo 
till 2 I 1775" 


to stand on the Earth and the top to reach above the region of 
the Clouds: Across Those Three Streams went less ones, and 
from each end of such small Stream, others pointing^ in regular 
lines to the Earth, all red — and appear'd to extend through the 
whole Southern Firmament, like the Figure ^ 

There then appear'd on a Green plain a great Multitude of 
Men in a Military posture, some of whom I knew: they came 
near the House and passing on Westward, Some of them looking 
up at me, Exprest themselves in a Scoffing, Taunting way, to 
which I made no reply. Soon after, an old Captain of Militia 
came to me, and I was told that these Men were assembled to 
Improve in the Discipline of War.] 

The manuscript before mentioned having lain by me several 
years, The publication of it rested weightily upon me, and this 
year I offered it to the Overseers of the press, who having 
examined and made some small alterations in it, ordered a number 
of Copies thereof to be published by the Yearly Meeting stock, 
and dispersed amongst friends. 

In the year 1754, I found my mind drawn to joyn in a Visit 
to Friends' families belonging to Chesterfield monthly meeting, 
and having the approbation of our own, I went to their monthly 
meeting ^ [in order to confer with Friends, and see if way opened 
for it.] I had conference with some of their members the pro- 
posal having been opened before in their meeting, and one friend 
agreed to join as a companion for a beginning: but when meeting 
was ended, I felt great distress of mind, and doubted what to 
take, or whether to go home and wait for greater clearness. I 
kept my distress secret ; and, going with a friend to his house, my 
desires were to the great Shepherd for his Heavenly Instruction, 
and in the morning I felt easie to proceed on the visit, being very 

' MS. B "Extended." 

^ MS. A Figure drawn. In margin of Folio A, p. 29, where diagram is given, 
are the words, "I do not want this figure printed. John Woolman." There is 
no question that in this case, as in that of his other dreams, he fully intended 
the text to be printed, the omission of the figure accompanying the present dream 
being evidently because of its rough drawing, or possibly because he might very 
characteristically think it occupied too much space. The erasure of the text of this 
dream is in ink of other and later manufacture, and is undoubtedly the work of the 
first Committee of Editorship, in 1774. MS. B, where the text is also entire, contains 
a memorandum in handi^riting of Samuel Comfort, (top of page 67) "Leave this Dream 
out in Printing,'^ 

' Inserted over an erasure in MS. A. 

I" 1755 177 

low in my mind : and as my eye was turned to the Lord, waiting 
in families in deep reverence before him, He was pleased Gra- 
ciously to afford help, so that he had many comfortable Oper- 
tunities, and it appeared as a fresh visitation to some young 
people. I spent Several weeks this winter in the Service part 
of which time was employed near home. And again in the follow- 
ing winter I was Several weeks in the same service, part of which 
time I spent at Shrewsbury, in Company with my Friend John 
Sykes,^^ and have cause humbly to acknowledge, that through the 
goodness of the Lord our hearts were at times, Enlarged in his 
Love, and strength was given to go through the trials which in 
the course of our visit attended us. 

From a disagreement between the powers of England and 
France it was now a time of Trouble on this Continent ; and an 
Epistle went forth as follows, which I thought good to give a 
place in this journal. 

An EPISTLE^ from our general spring meeting, &c., 1755. 

To Friends on the continent of America. 
Dear Friends 

In an humble sense of Divine Goodness, & the gracious continua- 
tion of God's love to his people, we tenderly Salute you, and are at 
this time therein Engaged in mind, that all of us who profess the 
Truth as held for & published by our worthy predecessors in this 
latter age of the world, may keep near to that Life which is the Light 
of men, & be strengthened to hold fast the profession of our Faith 
without wavering. That our trust may not be in man, but in the 
Lord alone, Who Ruleth in the Army of Heaven, and in the King- 
dom of men, before whom the Earth is as the dust of the balance, 
and her Inhabitants as grasshoppers. Isa. xl. 22. 

We (being convinced that the gracious design of the Almighty 
in sending his Son into the world, was to repair the breach made by 
Disobedience, to finish sin & transgression, that his Kingdom might 

'Erased, in MS. A, p. 32, (the only one which gives the text of this Epistle), 
is the following: — "It came upon me to write an Epistle to Friends; which I 
took to our General Spring Meeting and passed to some Elderly Friends to have 
it inspected & signed hy a number of the Brethren, on behalf of the meeting, 
which, with some amendments, was agreed to & is as follows" . The author- 
ship is thus established. John Woolman wrote other ofEcial publications. This 
was the Meeting for Ministers and Elders of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, held 
at that place, 2gth of x mo. to ist of 4 mo. inclusive. 17s.';. The original MS. 
& signatures of these fourteen Friends is in the Ridgway Branch of the Phila- 
delphia Library, J. Smith's MSB., Vol. VIII — The printer's memorandum is on 
back, "so lines to page." This was the first Yearly Meeting after the defeat 
of Gen. Braddock, July 9, 1754- 


come, and his will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven) have found 
it to be our duty to cease from those National Contests productive of 
Misery & bloodshed, and submit our cause to Him the Most High, 
whose tender Love to his Children exceeds the most warm Affections 
of Natural Parents, and who hath promised to his Seed throughout 
the Earth, as to one individual, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake 
thee." Heb. xiii. 5. And as we, through the Gracious dealings of 
the Lord our God, have had Experience of that work which is carried 
on, "not by Earthly might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the 
Lord of Hosts," Zech. iv. 6; By which operation that Spiritual King- 
dom is set up which is to subdue and break in pieces all Kingdoms 
that oppose it, and shall stand for ever. In a deep sense thereof, 
and of the safety. Stability and peace there is in it, we are desirous 
that all who profess the Truth may be inwardly acquainted with it 
and thereby be qualified to conduct in all parts of our life as becomes 
our peaceable profession. And we trust, as there is a faithfull con- 
tinuance to depend wholly upon the Almighty Arm from one genera- 
tion to another the peaceable kingdom will gradually be extended 
from Sea to Sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth," Zech. 
ix. 10; to the completion of those profesies already begun, that Nation 
shall not lift up Sword against nation nor learn war any more. Isa. 
ii. 4. Micah. iv. 3. 

And, dearly beloved Friends, seeing we have these promises, and 
believe that God is beginning to fulfil them, let us constantly en- 
deavour to have our minds sufficiently disentangled from the surfeit- 
ing cares of this life and redeemed from the Love of the world that 
no earthly possessions nor Enjoyments may byas our judgments or 
turn us from that resignation, and entire trust in God, to which his 
blessing is most surely annexed : then may we say. Our Redeemer 
is Mighty, he will plead our cause for us. Jer. i. 34. And if for 
the further promoting his most gracious purposes in the Earth he 
should give us to taiste of that bitter cup which his faithfull ones 
- have often partook of, O that we may be rightly prepared to receive it ! 

And now, dear Friends, with respect to the Commotions and 
Stirrings of the powers of the earth at this time near us, we are 
desirous that none of us may be moved thereat ; "but repose ourselves 
in the munition of that rock that all these shakings shall not move, 
even in the knowledge and feeling of the Eternal power of God, 
keeping us Subjectly given up to his Heavenly Will and feel it daily 
to mortify that which remains in any of us which is of this world for 
the worldly part in any is the changeable part, and that is up and 
down, full and empty, joyfull and sorrowfull, as things go well or 
ill in this world. For as the Truth is but one and many are made 


1755 179 

partakers of its spirit, so the world is but one and many are made 
partakers of the Spirit of it : & so many as do partake of it, so many 
will be straitened and perplexed with it. But they who are "single 
to the Truth, waiting daily to feel the life and Virtue of it in their 
hearts, these shall rejoice in the midst of Adversity,"' and have to 
experience with the profet, that though the fig-tree shall not blossom 
neither shall fruit be in the vines, The labour of the Olive shall fail, 
& the fields shall yield no meat; The flock shall be cut off from the 
fold and there shall be no herd in the stall yet will they rejoyce in 
the Lord and Joy in the God of their Salvation." Hab. iii. 17, 18. 

If contrary to this we profess the Truth & not living under the 
power and influence of it, are producing fruits disagreeable to the 
purity thereof, and trust to the strength of man to Suport ourselves 
therein, our confidence will be vain, for He, who removed the Hedge 
from his vinyard, and gave it to be trodden under foot by reason of 
the wild grapes it produced remains unchangible : and if, for the 
chastisement of wickedness and the further promoting his own Glory 
He doth arise even to shake terribly the earth, who then may oppose 
him, & prosper ! 

We remain in the Love of the gospel your friends and brethren. 

Signed in and on behalf of our said meeting, by 








Scrupeling to do writings relative to keeping slaves, having 
been a means of sundry small tryalsto me, in which I have so 
evidently felt my own will set aside that I think it good to 
mention a few of them. 

Tradesmen and retailers of goods who depend on their busi- 
ness for a livelihood, are naturally inclined to keep the good will 
of their customers ; nor is it a pleasant thing for young men to 
be under any necessity to question the Judgment or honesty of 
elderly men, and such more especially who have a good character. 
Deep rooted customs though wrong are not easily altered, but it 

' Stephen Crisp'i Epistle. [Note by John Woolman.] 
"See Biog. Note, 112. 


is the duty of every man to be firm in that which he certairJy 
knows is right for him. 

A Charitable, benevolent man, well acquainted with a negro 
may, I believe, under some circumstances, keep him in his family 
as a servant, on no other motive than the Negros good: but man, 
as man, knows not what shall be after him, nor hath he any 
assurance that his children will attain to that perfection in wisdom 
and goodness necessary to every Absolute governor. Hence it is 
clear to me that I ought not to be the scribe where wills are 
drawn in which some children are made absolute masters over 
others during life. 

About this time an Antient man of good esteem in the neigh- 
bourhood, came to my house to get his will wrote; he had young 
negroes, and I asking him privately how he purposed to dispose of 
them, he told me. I then said, I cannot write thy will without 
breaking my own peace, and respectfully gave him my reasons for 
it. He signified that he had a choice that I should have wrote 
it, but as I could not consistent with my conscience he did not 
desire it and so he got it wrote by some other person, and a 
few years after, [passing over time to finish the relation,] there be- 
ing great alterations in his family, he came again to get me to write 
his will. His negroes were yet young, and his son to whom he in- 
tended to give them, was since he first spoke to me, from a Liber- 
tine become a sober young man, and he supposed that I would have 
been free on that account to write it. We had much friendly talk 
on the subject, and then defer'd it, and a few days after he came 
again and directed their freedom and so I wrote his Will. 

Near the time the last mentioned friend first spoke to me, a 
neighbour received a bad bruise in his body, and sent for me to 
bleed him, which being done he desired me to write his will. I 
took notes and amongst other things he told me to which of his 
children he gave his young Negro woman. I considered the pain 
and distress he was in, and knew not how it would end, so I wrote 
his Will save only that part concerning his Slave, and, carrying it 
to his bed-side read it to him, and then told him in a friendly way, 
that I could not write any Instruments by which my fellow crea- 
tures were made slaves without bringing trouble on my own mind. 
I let him know that I charged nothing for what I had done, and 
desired to be Excused from doing the other part in the way he 

Ill 1756 181 

propos'd. Then we had a serious conference on the Subject, and 
at length he agreeing to set her free I finished his will. 

Having ^ found drawings in my mind to visit friends on Long 
Island, after having obtained a certificate from our Monthly 

da mo 
Meeting I set of y" 12. 5. 1756. When I reached the island, I 
lodged the first night at the house of my Dear Friend Richards 
Hallet : '" the next day being the first of the week I was at their 
meeting at Newtown in which though small, we had experience 
of the renewed manifestation of the love of Jesus Christ to the 
comfort of the honest hearted. I went that night to flushing, & the 
next day in company with my Beloved Friend Matthew FranliA 
lin '^ we crossed the ferry at White Stone, were at three meetings 
on that side the water, & then came on to the island,^ where I spent 
the Remainder of the week in Visiting meetings. The Lord I be- 
lieve hath a people in those parts who are honestly concerned to 
Serve him. But many I fear are too much cloged with the things / 
of this life, and do not come forward bearing the cross in such 
faithfullness as the Almighty calls for. 

My mind was deeply Engaged in this visit, both in public and 
private ; and at several places where I was, on observing that they 
had Slaves, I found myself under a necessity in a friendly way to 
labour with them on that Subject, Expressing as way opened, the 
inconsistency of that practice with the purity of the Christian Re- 
ligion, and the ill Effects of it manifested amongst us. 

The latter end of the week their Yearly Meeting began at 
which were our friends John Scarborrow,^* ^ Jane Hoskins,*" 
and Susannah Brown,*" from Pennsylvania, the pubhc meetings 
were large,* [and measurably favoured with Divine goodness.] 

The exercise of my mind at this meeting was chiefly on ac- 
count of those who were considered as the foremost rank in the 
Society, and in a meeting of Ministers and Elders way opened that 
I exprest in some measure what lay upon me. And at a time when^ 
friends were met for transacting the publick business. We seting 

' A note by Woolman at this point in MS. A, foot of page .16, reads. "N. B. 
Visit to Long Island comes in here before mention is made of leaving Merchandise." 
This is done. 

'i.e. returned to Long Island. [Ed.1 

^ John Scarborough. 

« MS. B only. 


a while silent, I felt a weight on my mind and stood up; and 
through the Gracious condescension of our Heavenly Father, 
Strength was given fully to clear my mind of a burthen which for 
some days had been increasing upon me. 

Through the humbling dispensations of Divine Providence men 
are sometimes fitted for His service. The messages of the 
Prophet Jeremiah were so disagreable to the people, and so re- 
verse to the Spirit they lived in, that he became the Object of 
their reproach, and in the weakness of nature thought to desist 
from his prophetick office; but, saith he. His word was in my 
heaft as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary 
with forbearing, and could not stay. I saw at this time, that if 
I was honest to declare that which Truth opened in me I could not 
please all men, and laboured to be content in the way of my duty, 
however disagreeable to my own inclinations. 

After this I went homeward taking Woodbridge and Plainfield 
in my way ; in both which Meetings, the pure Influence of Divine 
Love was manifested, in humbling sense whereof I went home; 
having been out 24 days, and rode about 316 miles. 

While I was out on this Journey my heart was deeply affected 
with a Sense of the State of the Churches in our Southern Prov- 
inces, and believing the LORD ^ was calling me to some further 
Labour amongst them, I was bowed in Reverence before HIM, 
with fervent desires that I might find Strength to resign myself up 

Until the year 1756V I continued to retail goods, ^ besides fol- 
lowing my trade as a Taylor ; about which time I grew uneasy on 
account of my business growing too cumbersome. I began with 
selling trimings for garments, and from thence proceeded to Sell 
cloaths and linens, and at length having got a considerable shop 
" of goods, my trade increased every year, and the road to large 
business appeared open : but I felt a Stop in my mind. 

Through the Mercies of the Almighty I had in a good degree 
learned to be content with a plain way of living. I had but a 
small family [my outward Aflfairs had been prosperous] ' and, 

' MS. B. In this earlier MS. the words God, Almighty, Lord, or pronouns re- 
ferring to him, are frequently capitalized throughout. 

^ This is the point, indicated by J. W., in MS. A, in which he inserted the 
visit to Long Island. 

• MS. B erased. 

Ill 1756 183 

on serious reflection I believed Truth did not require me to en- 
gage in much cumbering affairs. It liad generally been my prac- 
tice to buy and sell things realy usefull. Things that served 
chiefly to please the vain mind in people, I was not easie to trade 
in; seldom did it, and whenever I did, I found it weaken me as 
a Christian. 

/- The increase of business became my burthen, for though my 
natural inclination was towards merchandize, yet I believed Truth 
required me to live more free from outward cumbers. There 
was now a strife in my mind betwixt the two, and in this exer- 
cise my prayers were put up to the Lord, who Graciously heard- 
me, and gave me a^heart , jesigned to his Holy williT then les- 
sened my outward business; and as I had opportunity told my 
customers of my intention thal-J±i£y__ini.gkt__consider whajL_sirop 
to turn to : and so in a while, wholly laid down merchandize, 
following my trade as a Taylor, myself only, having no prentice. 
I also had a nursery of Apple trees, in which I spent a good 
deal of time, howijig, grafting, triming & Inoculating. 

In merchandize it is the custom, where I lived, to sell chiefly 
on credit; and poor people often get in debt, & when payment is 
expected haveing not wherewith to pay, & so their creditors often 
sue for it at Law : having often observed occurrences of this 
kind, I found it good for me to advise poor people to take such 
as were most useful & not costly. 

In the time of trading I had an oportunity of seeing 
that a too liberal use of Spirituous liquors, and the Custom 
of wearing too costly apparrel, led some people into great in- 
conveniences : and these two things appear to be often connected 
one with the other; for by not attending to that use of things 
which is consistent with Universal Righteousness, there is a 
[necessary] increase of Labour which extends beyond what our 
Heavenly Father intends for us : and by great labour, and often 
by much sweting in the heat there is, even among such who are 
not drunkards, a craving of some liquor to revive the spirits : 
That partly by the wanton. Luxurious drinking of some, and 
partly by the drinking of others, led to it through immoderate 
labour, verry great quantities of Rum are annually expended in 
our Colonies, of which we should have no need, did we steadily 
Attend to pure Wisdom. 


Where men take pleasure in feeling their minds elevated with 
strong drink, and so indulge this appetite as to disorder their un- 
derstanding, neglect their duty as members in a family or civil 
society, and cast off all pretence to Religion, their case is much 
to be pittied ; And where such whose lives are for the most part 
regular, and whose Examples have a strong influence on the 
minds of others, Adhere to some customs which powerfully draw 
toward the use of More strong liquor than pure wisdom [directeth 
the Use of,] this allso, as it hinders the spreading of the Spirit of 
meekness, and Strengthens the hands of the more Excessive 
drinkers, is a case to be lamented. 

As [the least] degree of luxury hath some connection with 
evil, for those who profess to be disciples of Christ, and are 
looked upon as leaders of the people, to have that mind in them 
which was also in Him, & so stand separate from every wrong 
way, is a means of help to the weaker. As I have sometimes been 
much spent in the heat, and taken spirits to revive me, I have 
found by Experience that the mind is not so calm in such cir- 
cumstances, nor so fitly disposed for Divine meditation, as when 
all such extreams are avoided ; and I have felt an increasing Care 
to attend to that Holy Spirit which sets right bounds to our de- 
sires, and leads those who faithfully follow it to apply all the 
gifts of Divine Providence to the purposes for which they were 
intended. Did such who have the care of great Estates, attend 
with singleness of heart to this Heavenly Instructor, which so 
opens and enlarges the mind that Men love their neighbours as 
themselves. They would have wisdom given them to manage, with- 
out ever finding occasion to employ some people in the Luxuries of 
life, or to make it necessary for others to labour too hard: But 
for want of regarding steadily this Principle of Divine love, a 
selfish Spirit takes place in the minds of people, which is at- 
tended with darkness & manifold confusions in the world. 

[In the Course of my Tradeing, being somewhat affected' at 
the Various Law Suits about collecting Money which I saw going 
forward ; On aplying to a Constable, he gave me a List of his 
proceedings for one year as follows ; to wit. 

Served 267 Warrants, 103 Summonses, and 17 Executions! 
As to Writs Served by tlie Sheriff, I got no account of them. 

' MS. B Troubled. 

Ill 1756 IS5 

I once had a ^^'arl■ant for an Idle !Man, who I believed was 
about to run away, which was the only time I applied to the Law 
to reco\ er ]\Ioney.] ' 

Through trading in things Use full is an honest employ, yet 
through the great number of Superfluities which are commonly 
bought and sold, and through the corruptions of the times, they 
who apply to merchandize for a living, have great need to be 
well experienced in that precept wliich the prophet Jeremiah laid 
down for Baruc, his scribe: "Seekest thou great things for thy- 
self ? seek them not." 

The winter 1756 I was [several times out] with Friends in 
visiting families : and through the goodness of the Lord, we had 
oftentimes Experience of his heartendering presence among us. 

A Copy of a letter wrote to a friend.' 

In this thy late atHiction I've found a deep fellow-feeling with 
thee, and had a secret hope throughout that it might please the Father 
of Mercies to raise thee up & Sanctifie thy troubles to thee, that 
thou being more fully acquainted with that way \\Itich the world 
esteems foolish may feel tlie Cloathing of Divine Fortitude, and be 
strengtliened to Resist that spirit which leads from the Simplicit\- 
of the Everlasting Truth. 

We may see ourselves cripled and halting. & from a strong bias to 
things pleasant and easie, find an Impossibility to advance forward: 
but things Impossible with men are possible with God ; and our wills 
being made Subject to his, all temptations are Surmountable. 

This work of Subjecting the will, is compared to the mineral in 
the furnace, which through fervent heat is reduced from its tirst 
principle. "He retines them as silver is refined; He shall sit as a 
refiner and purifier of silver." By these Comparisons we are in- 
structed in tlie necessity- of the melting Operation of the hand of 
God upon us. to prepare our hearts truly to adore Him, and manifest 
that adoration by inwardly turning away from that Spirit in all its 
workings which is not of Him. To forward this work, the allwise 
God is sometimes pleased, through outward distress, to bring us near 
the gates of Death; That life being painful & afliicting, and the 
prospect of Etemit}- open before us, all earthly bonds may be loos- 

^ MS. A, p. 39. Also given in B, p. oi. This incident has alv.ays been omitted. 
following the Committee c£ i77-i- in First Edition. It gains interest bv being 
the only occasion on wliich we have any account of John Woolman going to law, 

^ MS. A. There is no clue to the identity- of this Friend. In all probability it 
was one of the brothers Pemberton,=, «, ^ or possibly, John Smith." 


ened, and the mind prepared for that deep and Sacred Instruction, 
which otherwise would not be received. 

If kind parents love their children and delight in their happiness, 
then He who is perfect goodness in sending abroad mortal Conta- 
gions, doth Assuredly direct their use. Are the righteous removed 
by it ? their change is hapy : Are the wicked taken away in their 
wickedness ? the Almighty is clear. Do we pass through it with 
anguish and great bitterness, & yet recover? he intends that we 
should be purged from dross, and our ear opened to discipline. 

And now on thy part, after thy Sore Affliction and doubts of 
recovery, thou art again restored, forget not Him who hath helped 
thee, but in humble gratitude hold fast his instructions, thereby to 
shun those by paths which leads from the firm foundation. I am 
Sensible of that variety of Company, to which one in t hy bu siness 
musMse Exposed. I have painfully felt the force of Conversation 
proceeding from men deeply rooted in an Earthly mind, and can 
sympathize with others in Such Conflicts, in that much weakness 
still attends me. I find that to be a fool as to worldly wisdom, & 
commit my cause to God not fearing to offend men who take offence 
at the Simplicity of Truth, is the only way to remain unmoved at 
the Sentiments of others. 

The fear of man brings a snare : by halting in our duty, & giveing 
back in the time of tryal, our hands grow weaker, our Spirits get 
mingled with the people, our ears grow dull as to hearing the lan- 
guage of the True Shepherd; that when we look at the way of the 
Righteous, it seems as though it was not for us to follow them. 

There is a love Cloaths my mind while I write, which is superior 
to all Expressions, & I find my heart open to encourage to a holy 
Emulation to advance forward in Christian firmness. Deep Humility 
is a Strong Bulwark ; & as we enter into it, we find safety and true 
Exaltation : The foolishness of God is wiser than man, and the weak- 
ness of God is Stronger than man. Being uncloathed of our own 
wisdom, and knowing the Abasement of the creature, therein we find 
that power to arise, which gives health and Vigor to us. 




da mo 

The 13 2, 1757 being then in good health and abroad with 
Friends visiting famihes, I lodged at a Friends house in Burling- 
ton, & going to bed about the time usual with me, I awoke in the 
night and my meditations as I lay were on the goodness & Mercy 
of the Lord, in a-sense whereof my heart was contrite ; after this 
I went to sleep again, & sleeping a short time, I awoke. It was 
yet dark and no appearance of day nor moonshine, and as I opened 
my eyes I saw a light in the chamber at the apparent distance of 
[about] five feet, about nine inches diameter, of a clear easie 
brightness, and near the center the most radient. As I lay still/ 
without any surprise looking upon it, words were spoken to my 
inward ear which filled my whole inward man y They were not 
the effect of thought, nor any conclusion in relation to the appear- 
ance. But as the language of the Holy One Spoken in my mind: 
the words were (Certain Eiddence of Divine Truth,] and were 
again repeated exactly in the same maner, whereupon the light 

Feeling an exercise in relation to a visit to the Southern parts 
to increase upon me, I acquainted our monthly meeting therewith, 
and Obtained their Certificate. Expecting to go alone one of my 
brothers,^ who lived in Philadelphia, having some business in 
North Carolina, propos'd going with me part of the way. But as 
he had a view of some outward affairs, to Accept of him as a 
companion seemed some difficulty with me; whereupon I had 
conversation with him at sundry times, and at length, feeling easie 
in my mind I had conversation with several Elderly Friends of 
Philadelphia on the Subject, and he obtaining a Certificate Sut- 

able to the ocasion, we set of 5. 1757; and fell in at Nottingham 

* Uriah Woolman.^^ 



week-day meeting and lodged at John Churchmans ^' : here I met 
with our Friend Benjamin Buffington,"" from New England, who 
was returning from a Visit to the Southern provinces. Thence 
we crossed the river Susquehannah, and lodged at William Coxs "^ 
in Maryland, and soon after I entered this province, a deep and 
painfull Exercise came upon nie, which I had often had some feel- 
ing of since my mind was drawn toward these parts, and with which 
I Ac(|uainted my Brother before we agreed to joyn as companions. 

As the people in this and the southern provinces, live much 
on the labour of Slaves, many of whom are used hardly, my con- 
cern was, that I might attend with singleness of heart to the Voice 
of the True Shepherd, and be so supported as to remain unmoved 
at the faces of men. 

As it is common for Friends on a visit to have Entertainment 
free cost, a difficulty arose in my mind with respect to saveing my 
own money by kindness received, which to me appeared to be 
the gain of Opression. 

Receiving a gift, considered as a gift, brings the receiver under 
Obligations to the Benefactor, and has a natural tendency to draw 
the Obliged into a party with the giver. To prevent difficulties 
of this kind, and to preserve the minds of Judges from any byas, 
was that Divine Prohibition "Thou shalt not receive any gift, 
for a gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of 
the Righteous." Exod. .xxiii. 8. As the Disciples were sent forth 
without any Provision for their Journey, and our Lord said, 
the workman is worthy of his meat. Their labour in the Gospel 
was considered as a reward for their Entertainment, and there- 
fore not received as a gift: yet in regard to my present Journey 
I could not see my way clear in that respect — the odds appeared 
thus : The entertainment the disciples met with, was from such 
whose hearts God had opened to receive them, from a Love to 
them, and the Truth which they published : But we, considered 
as members of the same society, look upon it as a piece of Civility 
to receive each other in such visits, and Such reception, at times, 
is partly in regard to reputation, and not from an inward Unity 
of heart and Spirit. 

Conduct is more convincing than language; and where people 
by their actions manifest that the Slave trade is not so disagree- 


1757 i89 

able to their principles but that it may be encouraged, there is not 
a Sound uniting with some Friends who Visit them. 

The prospect of so weighty a work & being so distinguished 
from many whom I Esteemed before myself, brought me verry 
low, & Such were the conflicts of my Soul, that I liad a near 
sympathy with the profet in the time of his weakness, when 
he said "If thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee out of 
hand if I have found favour in thy Sight," but I soon saw that 
this proceeded from the want of a full resignation to Him. Many 
were the afflictions which attended me and in great Abasement, 
with many tears, my Cries were to the Almighty for his Gracious 
and Fatherly assistance, and then, after a Time of Deep Tryals 
I was favoured to understand the state mentioned by the psalmist 
more clearly than e^-er I had lief ore, to wit: "My Soul is even as a 
weaned child." 

Being thus helped to sink down into Resignation I felt a 
deliverance from that Tempest in which I had been sorely 
Exercised, and in Calmness of mind went forward Trusting 
that the Lord Jesus Christ, as I faithfully attended to Him, would 
be a Councellor to me in all Difficulties, and that by liis Strength 
I should be enabled even to leave money with the members of 
Society where I had Entertainment, when I found that omiting 
of it would Obstruct that work to which I believed he had called 
me. And as I copy this after my return [from that Journey] I 
may here add, that oftentimes I did so. Under a sense of duty. 
The Manner in which I did it was thus : when I expected soon to 
leave a Friend's house where I had Entertainment, if I believed 
that I should not keep clear from the gain of Oppression without 
leaving some money, I spoke to One of the heads of the Family 
privatel}', and desired them to accept of them pieces of Silver, 
and give them to such of their Negroes as they believ'd would 
make the best use of them ; And at other times, I gave them to the 
Negroes myself, [according] as the way looked clearest to me. As 
I expected this before I came out, I had provided a large number 
of small pieces [of silver] and thus offering them to Some who ap- 
peared to be wealthy people was a trj^al both to me and them : But 
the [Exercise of my mind was Such and the] fear of the Lord so 
covered me at times, that way was made easier than I expected, 


and few, if any, manifested any resentment at the offer, and most 
of them, after some [little] talk, accepted of them, 
da mo 

The 7. 5. 1757, lodged at a Friend's house: and the next 
day, being first day of the week was at Patapscoe meeting [after 
which we] crossed Patuxent River, and lodged at a public house 
[at the head of Severn]. 9th. Breakfasted at a Friend's house, 
who afterward, puting us a little on our way, I had conversation 
with him, in the fear of the Lord, concerning his Slaves, in which 
my heart was tender, and I used much plainness of Speech with 
Him, which he appeared to take kindly. We pursued our Journey 
without appointing meetings, being pressed in my mind to be at 
the Yearly Meeting in Virginia, and in my Traveling on the 
Road, I often felt language rise from the Centre of my mind, thus, 
O Lord ! I am a Stranger in the Earth, hide not thy face from me. 

da mo 

II. 5., we Crossed the Rivers I-'atowmock ' and Rapahannock, 
and lodged at Port Royal, and on the way, we happening in Com- 
pany with a Colonel of the Militia, who appeared to be a thought- 
full man, I took ocasion to remark on the odds in general betwixt a 
people used to labour moderately for their living, training up 
their Children in frugality and business. And those who live 
on the labour of Slaves, The former in my view being the most 
happy life: with which he concurr'd, and mentioned the trouble 
arising from the untoward Slothful disposition of the Negroes, 
adding, that one of our labourers would do as much in a day as two 
of their slaves. I replyed that free men whose minds were prop- 
erly on their business found a Satisfaction in Improving, Cultivat- 
ing, and providing for their families. But Negroes, labouring to 
support others, who claim them as their pi;operty and Expect- 
ing nothing but Slavery during life, had not the like inducement 
to be industrious. After some further conversation, I said that 
men having power too often misapjjlied it. That though we made 
Slaves of the Negroes, and the Turks made Slaves of the Chris- 
tians, I however believed that Liberty was the Natural right of 
all men equally which he did not deny; but said the lives of the 
negroes were so wretched in their own Country, that many of 
them lived better here than there. I only said there's great odds 

* Potomac. 

IV 1757 ipi 

in regard to us, on what principle we act and so the conversation 
on that head ended. And I may here add, that another person, 
some time afterward mentioned the wretchcehiess of the Negroes 
occasioned by their intestine wars, as an argument in favour of our 
fetching them away for Slaves: to which I then replied, If com- 
passion to the Africans, in regard to their domestick troubles, were 
the real motives of our purchasing them. That spirit of Sympathy 
being Attended to, would Incite us to use them kindly, that as 
Strangers brought out of Affliction, their lives might be happy 
amongst us, And as they are Human creatures, whose Souls are 
as precious as ours, and who may receive the same help & Comfort 
from the Holy Scriptures as we do, we could not omit sutable 
Endeavours to instruct them therein. 

But while we manifest by our conduct, that our views in pur- 
chasing them are to advance ourselves, and while our buying 
Captives taken in war, animates those parties to push on that war, 
and increce Desolations amongst them. To say they live unhappy 
in Africa is far from being an argument in our favour and 1 
further said, the present circumstances of these provinces to me 
appear difficult. That the slaves look like a burthensome Stone to 
such who burthen themselves with them, and that if the white 
people retain a resolution to prefer their outward prospects of 
gain to all other Considerations, and do not act Conscientiously 
toward them as fellow Creatures, I believe that burthen will grow 
heavier and heavier, till times change in a way disagreeable to us. 
At which the person appeared verry serious and acknowledged that 
in considering their condition, and the maner of their treatment 
in these provinces, he had Sometimes thought it might be just 
in the Almighty so to order it. 

Having thus traveled through Maryland,^ we came among 

da mo 
Friends at Ceadar Creek in A'irginia on the 12. 5. and the next 
day rode in Company with Several Friends a days Journey to 
Camp Creek and as I was riding along in the morning, my mind 
was deeply affected in a Sense I had of the want of Divine Aid 
to Support me in the various difficulties which attended me, and in 
an uncommon distress of Spirit, I cried in Secret to the Most 
High, O Lord ! be mercifull I beseech thee, to thy poor Afflicted 

1 MS. B "On a direct line." 


creature. After some time I felt inward relief, and soon after a 
Friend in company began to talk in Suport of the Slave Trade, and 
said the Negroes were understood to be the offspring of Cain, their, 
blackness being the mark God set upon him after he murthered 
Abel his brother That it was the design of Providence they should 
be slaves, as a condition proper to the race of so wicked a man as 
Cain was : then another spake in support of what had been said. 
To all which, I replied That Noah and his Family were all who 
survived the Flood, according to scripture, and as Noah was of 
Seths Race, the Family of Cain was wholly destroyed. One of 
them said that after the Flood Ham went to the Land of Nod, 
and took a wife that Nod was a land far distant. Inhabited by 
Cains race, and that the flood did not reach it, and as Ham was 
Sentenced to be a Servant of Servants to his Brethren, these two 
families being thus joined, were undoubtedly fit only for Slaves. 
I replyed, the Flood was a Judgment upon the World for their 
abominations ; and it was granted that Cains stock was the most 
wicked, and therefore unreasonable to suppose they were Spared. 
As to Hams going to the land of Nod for a wife, no time being 
fixed. Nod might be Inhabited by some of Noahs family, before 
Ham married a Second time. Moreover the Text saith [Ex- 
pressly] that all flesh died that moved upon the earth. [Gensis vii. 
21.] I further reminded them, how the prophets repeatedly de- 
clared "that the son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, 
but every one be answerable for his own sins." I was troubled 
to perceive the darkness of their Imaginations, and in some pres- 
sure of spirit said, The love of ease and gain are the motives in 
general of keeping Slaves, and men are wont to take hold of weak 
arguments to Support a cause which is unreasonable, and added, 
I've no interest on either side, Save only the Interest which I 
desire to have in the Truth, and as I believe Liberty is their right, 
and see they are not only deprived of it, but treated in other re- 
spects with inhumanity in many places, I believe He who is a 
Refuge for y" Opres'd, will in his own time plead their cause, and 
happy will it be for Such who walk in uprightness before him, & 
Thus our conversation ended. 

da mo 

14. 5. was at Camp Creek monthly meeting and then rode to 
the mountains up James river, and had a meeting at a Friends 


1757 193 

House, in both which I felt sorrow of heart, and my tears were 
poured out before the Lord, who was pleased to afford a degree 
of Strength by which way opened to clear my mind amongst 
Friends in those places. From thence I went to fork Creek, and so 
to Ceadar Creek again at which place I had a meeting, here I 
found a tender seed, and as I was preserved in the ministry to keep 
low with the Truth, the Same Truth in their hearts answered it, 
that it was a time of Mutual refreshment from the presence of 
the Lord. I lodged at James Standleys,^- father of William 
Standley,^" one of the young men who suffered imprisonment at 
Winchester last Sumer on account of their Testimony against 
Fighting, and I had some satisfactory conversation with him 
concerning it. Hence I went to the Swamp meeting, and to 
Wayneoak meeting and then crossed James river, and lodged 
near Burleigh. 

From the time of my Entering Maryland I have been much 
under sorrow, which of late so increased upon me, that my mind 
was almost overwhelmed, and I may say with the psalmist, "In 
my distress I called upon the Lord, and Cryed to my God ;" who, 
in Infinite Goodness looked upon my affliction and in my private 
retirement sent the Comforter for my relief, for which I humbly 
bless his Holy name. 

The sense I had of the state of the churches, brought a 
weight of distress upon me. The gold to me appear'd dim, and 
the fine gold changed, and tho' this is the case toe generaly, yet 
the sense of it in these parts hath, in a particular maner, born 
heavy upon me. It appeared to me, that through the prevailing 
of the spirit of this world, the minds of many were brought into 
an inward desolation, and instead of the Spirit of Meekness, 
Gentleness, and Heavenly Wisdom, which are the necessary Com- 
panions of the true Sheep of Christ, a Spirit of fierceness, and 
the love of dominion too generally prevailed. 

From small beginnings in error great buildings by degrees 
are raised, and from one age to another, are more and more 
Strengthened by the general Concurrence of the people: and as"'. 
men of Reputation depart from the Truth, their [virtues] are 
mentioned as arguments in favour of general error; and those of 1 
less note to justifie themselves say, such and such good men did 
the like. By what other steps could the people of Judah arise 


to that higth in Wickedness, as to give just ground for the prophet 
Isaiah to declare in the name of the Lord, that none called for 
justice, nor pleaded for truth Or for the Almighty to call upon 
the Great Citty Jerusalem, just before the Babilonish Captivity, 
[to] find a man who Executed Judgment, that Sought the Truth, 
and he would pardon it. The prospect of a Road lying open to 
the same degeneracy, in some parts of this Newly Settled Land 
of America, in respect to our Conduct toward the Negroes, hath 
deeply bowed my mind in this journey, and though to briefly re- 
late how these people are treated is no agreeable work, after 
often reading over the notes I made as I traveled, I find my mind 
Engaged to preserve them. 

Many of the white people in those provinces take little or 
no care of Negro marriages, and when Negroes marry after 
their own waj'. Some make so little account of those marriages 
that with views of outward interest, they often part men from 
their wives by selling them far asunder; which is Coition when 
estates are sold by Exc." at Vendue. [Many whose labour is 
heavy being f ollow'd by a man with a whip, hired for that purpose, 
have in coiuon little else allowed but Lidian corn and salt, with a 
few potatoes ; the potatoes they commonly raise by their labour 
on the first day of the week.]^ The correction ensuing on their 
disobedience to overseers, or Sloathfulness in business, is often 
verry severe, and sometimes desperate. 

Men and women have many times scarce cloathes enough to 
hide their nakedness, and boys and girls, ten and twelve years 
old, are often stark naked amongst their master's children. Some 
of our Society, and some of the Society called New Lights, use 
some endeavours to instruct those they have in reading; but in 
comon this is not only neglected, but disapproved. These are a 
people by whose labour the other inhabitants are in a great measure 
Supported and many of them in the Luxuries of Life. These are 
a people who have made no agreement to serve us, and have not 
forfeited their Liberty that we know of. These are souls for 
whom Christ died and for our conduct toward them, we must 
answer before that Almighty Being who is no respecter of 

' MS. B is followed in this sentence, A reads — "Many whose labour is 
heavy, being followed by a man with a Whip, hired for that purpose, having 
in common little else to eat but Indian corn & salt with some few potatoes." 

rv 1757 195 

They who know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he 
hath sent and are thus Acquainted with the Merciful, Benevolent, 
Gospel Spirit, will therein perceive that y" Indignation of God is 
Kindled against Oppression & Cruelty, and in beholding the great 
distress of so numerous a people, will find cause for mourning. 

From my lodgings, I went to Burleigh meeting, where I felt 
my inind drawn into a quiet resigned state, and after long Silence, 
I felt an Engagement to stand up, and through the powerful opera- 
tion of Divine Love, we were favoured with an Edifying Meet- 
ing. Next we had meetTng at Black Water and so to the Yearly 
^Meeting at the Western Branch. When business began some 
queries were produced by some of their members to be now con- 
sidered and if approved to be answered hereafter by their re- 
spective monthly meetings. They were the Pennsylvania queries 
which had been Examined by a Committee of Virginia Yearly 
Meeting appointed the last year, who made some alterations in 
them, one of which alterations was made in favour of a custom 
which troubled me. The query was, "Are there any concerned in 
the importation of negroes, or buying them after imported?" which 
they altered thus : "Are there any concerned in the importation 
of negroes, or buying them to trade in?" As one query admitted 
with unanimity was, "Are you concerned in buying or vending 
goods unlawfully Imported, or prize goods?" I found my mind 
engaged to say, that as we professed the Truth, and were there 
assembled to support the testimony of it, it was necessary for us 
to dwell deep and act in that wisdom which is pure, or otherwise 
we could not prosper. I then mentioned their alteration, & refer- 
ring [them] to the last mentioned query, added, as purchasing any 
merchandize taken by the sword, was always allowed to be incon- 
sistent with our Principles, Negroes being Captives of war, or 
taken by stealth, those circumstances make it inconsistent with our 
Testimony to buy them ; and their being our fellow creatures, who 
are sold as slaves, adds greatly to the [dificulty]. Friends 
appear'd attentive to what was said. Some expresst a care and 
Concern about their Negroes none made any objection, by way of 
[answer] to what I said, but the query was admitted as they had 
altered it. 

As some of their members have heretofore [been concerned in 
trading] in Negroes as in other merchandize, This query being 


admitted will be one step further than they have heretofore gone, 
and I did not see it my duty to press for an alteration, but felt 
easie to leave it all to Him, who alone is able to turn the hearts of 
the Mighty, and make way for the Spreading of Truth in the 
Earth, by means agreeable to his Infinite Wisdom. But in regard 
to those they already had, I felt my mind engaged to Labour with 
them, and said. That as we believe the scriptures were given forth 
by Holy men as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and many 
of us know by Experience that they are often helpful & Comfort- 
able, and believe ourselves bound in duty to teach our Children to 
read them, I believe that if we were divested of all selfish views, the 
same good Spirit that gave them forth, would engage us to [learn 
them] to read, that they might have the benefit of them. Some [I 
perceived] amongst them who, at that time, manifested a concern 
in regard to taking more care of the Education of their Negroes. 

da mo st 

29. 5., and I of the week, in the house where I lodged was 

a meeting of Ministers and Elders, at the 9 hour in the morning ; 
at which meeting I found an Engagement to Speak freely and 
plainly to them concerning their [Negroes] ; mentioning [As it 
opened on my mind] how the}' as the first rank in the Society, 
whose Conduct in that case was much noticed by others, were 
under the Stronger Obligations to look carefully to themselves, 
expressing how needful it was for them in that situation to be 
thoroughly divested of selfish views. That living in the pure 
Truth, and acting conscientiously toward those people, in their 
education and otherwise, they might be instrumental in helping 
forward a work so Exceeding necessary, and so much neglected 

amongst them. At the 12 hour the meeting of worship began 
which was a Solid meeting, 
da th 

The 30, about the 10 hour, Friends met to finish their business, 
and then the meeting for worship Ensued, which to me was a 
Laborious time. But through the Goodness of the Lord Truth I 
believe gained some ground, and it was a Strengthening oppor- 
tunity to the honest-hearted. 

IV 1757 197 

About this time I wrote an epistle to Friends in the Back 
Settlements of North Carolina, as follows : 

To Friends at their monthly meeting at New Garden 
and [Kain'] ' Creek, in. North Carolina. 

Dear Friends 

It having pleased the Lord to draw me forth on a visit to some 
parts of Virginia and Carolina, you have often been in my mind; 
and though my way is not clear to come in person to Visit you, yet 
I feel it in my heart to communicate a few things, as they Arise in 
the Love of truth. 

First my Dear Friends, dwell in HumiHty, and take heed that no 
views of outward gain get too deep hold of you, that so your eyes 
being Single to the Lord, you may be preserved in the way of safety. 
Where people let loose their minds after the Love of outward things, 
and are more Engaged in pursuing the profits, and seeking the friend- 
ships of this world, than to be inwardly acquainted with the way of 
true peace, Such walk in a vain shadow, while the True Comfort 
of life is wanting. Their examples are [many times] hurtfull to 
others, and their treasures, thus collected, do often prove dangerous 
Snares to their children. But where people are Sincerely devoted 
to follow Christ, and dwell under the influence of his Holy Spirit, 
. their Stability and Firmness, through a Divine Blessing, is at times 
like dew on the tender plants round about them, and the Weightiness 
of their Spirits secretly works on the minds of Others, And in this 
condition through the spreading influence of Divine Love, they feel 
a care over the flock, and way is open for maintaining good order 
in the Society. And though we meet with Oposition from another 
Spirit, yet as there is a dwelling in meekness, feeling our own Spirits 
Subject, and moving only in the gentle peaceable Wisdom, the inward 
reward of Quietness will be greater than all our difficulties. Where 
the pure Life is kept to & meetings of Discipline are held in the 
Authority of it, we find by Experience that they are Comfortable, 
and tend to the Health of the Body. 

While I write, the youth comes fresh in my way. Dear young 
people, Choose God for your portion. Love this Truth, and be not 
ashamed of it. Choose for your Company Such who Serve him in 
uprightness, and Shun as most dangerous the Conversation of those 
whose lives are of an ill Savour for by frequenting such Company, 
some hopefull young people have come to great loss, and been drawn 
from less evils to greater, to their utter Ruin. In the bloom of youth 

iCane Creek. 


no ornament is so lovely as that of Virtue, nor any Enjoyments equal 
to those which we partake of in fully resigning ourselves to the 
Divine Will. These Enjoyments add Sweetness to all other com- 
forts, and give true Satisfaction in Company and Conversation where 
people are mutually acquainted with it. And as your minds are thus 
Seasoned with the Truth, you will find strength to abide Steadfast 
to the Testimony of it, and be prepared for Services in the Church. 

And now Dear Friends and Brethren, as you are improving a 
wilderness, and may be numbered amongst the first planter^ in one 
part of a Province, I beseech you in the Love of Jesus Christ, to 
wisely consider the force of your Examples, and think how much 
your Successors may be thereby affected. It is a help in a Country, 
yea a great favour and a Blessing, when Customs first setled are 
agreeable to sound wisdom, so, when they are otherwise, the Effect 
of them is grievous, and Children feel themselves encompassed with 
difficulties prepared for them by their predecessors. 

As moderate care and Exercise, under the direction of Pure Wis- 
dom, is useful both to mind and body, so by this means in general, 
the real wants in life are easily Attained. Our Gracious Father 
having so proportioned one to the other, that keeping in the true 
medium we may pass on quietly. Where slaves are purchased to do 
our Labour, numerous difficulties attend it. To Rational Creatures 
Bondage is uneasie, and frequently Occasions Sowreness and dis- 
content in them; which affects ,the family, and such who claim the 
Mastery over them. And thus people and their children are many 
times Encompassed with vexations, which arise from their applying 
to wrong methods to get a liveing. 

I have been informed that there are a large number of Friends 
in your parts, who have no Slaves, and in Tender and most Affec- 
tionate Love, I now beseech you not to purchase any. Look, my Dear 
Friends, to Divine Providence, and follow in simplicity that Exercise 
of Body, that plainness and frugality, which True wisdom leads to. 
So may you be preserved from those Dangers which attend such 
who are aiming at outward Ease and greatness. 

Treasures though small attained on a true principle of Virtue, are 
Sweet in the possession, and while we walk in the Light of the Lord, 
there is true Comfort and Satisfaction. Here neither the murmurs 
of an oppressed people, nor throbing uneasy Conscience, nor Anxious 
thoughts about the events of things, hinder the enjoyment of it. 

When we look toward the end of life, and think on the Division 
of our Substance amongst our Successors. If we know that it was 
collected in the Fear of the Lord, in Honesty, in Equity, and in 
Uprightness of Heart before him, we may consider it as His gift to 


1757 199 

us, and with a single eye to His Blessing, bestow it on those we 
leave behind us. Such is the happiness in the plain ways of true 
Virtue. The works of Righteousness are peace, and the Effects of 
Righteousness are quietness and assurance for ever. 

Dwell here, my Dear Friends; and then in Remote and Solitary 
Desarts, you may find true peace and satisfaction. If the Lord be 
our God in Truth and Reality, there is Safety for us, for he is a 
Strong Hold in the day of Trouble, and knoweth them that trust 
in him. ' 

I am in true love your friend 

J. W. 
Isle of Wight county, in Virginia, 
da mo 

29-. 5- 1757- 

From the Yearly Meeting in Virginea, I went to Carolina ; and 
da mo 
on the I. 6. was at Wells Creek monthly meeting, where the 
Spring of the Gospel Ministry was opened, and the Love of Jesus 
Christ experienced amongst us, to his name be the praise. 

[As the Neglected Condition of the poor Slaves often Affects 
my mind. Meetings for Discipline hath seem'd to me Sutable 
places to Express what the Holy Spirit may open on that Subject, 
and though in this meeting they were much in my mind, I found 
no Engagement to Speak concerning them, & therefore kept Si- 
lence, finding by Experience that to keep pace with the gentle 
Motions of Truth, and never move but as That Opens the way, is 
necessary for the true Servant of Christ.]^ 

Here my ^ Brother " joyned with some Friends from New Gar- 
den who were going homeward and I went next to Simons Creek 
monthly meeting, where I was Silent during the meeting for wor- 
ship : and when Business came on my mind was deeply Exercised 
concerning the poor Slaves, but did not feel my way clear to 
Speak, in this condition I was bowed in spirit before the Lord ; 
and with tears and inward Supplication besought him, to so open 
my understanding, that I might know his will concerning me, and 
at length, my mind was Settled in Silence, and near the end of 
their business, a member of their meeting Expresst a concern that 

^ Let this be left out." Marginal note, MS, A., by editors. It has been 
erased in MS. B. 
' Uriah Woolnian. 


had some time lain upon him, [with respect to] Friends so much 
neglecting their duty in the Education of their Negroes, and 
propos'd having meetings sometimes appointed for them on a 
week-day, to be only attended by Some Friends to be named by 
their Monthly Meetings. Many present appeared to unite with 
the proposal. One said "he had often wondered at it, that they, 
being our Fellow Creatures & capable of Religious understanding, 
had been so Exceedingly neglected." Another Expresst the like 
concern, and appeared Zealous that Friends in future might more 
closely consider the matter. At length a minute was made, & 
the further consideration of it referred to their next monthly 

The Friend who made this proposal hath Negroes: he told 
me that he was at New Garden about two hundred and fifty miles 
of, and came home alone, and that in this solitary Journey, this 
exercise in regard to the Education of their Negroes, was from 
time to time renewed in his mind. A Friend of some note in 
Virginia, who had Slaves, told me that he being far from home 
on a lonesome Journey, had many Serious thoughts about them, 
and then believed that he saw a time coming when Divine Provi- 
dence would alter the circumstance of these people, respecting 
their Condition as Slaves. 

From hence I went to New-begun Creek, and Sat a consider- 
able time in much weakness, till at length I felt Truth open the 
way to Speak a little in much plainness and Simplicity, [till at 
length] through the increase of Divine love amongst us, we had a 
Seasoning opportunity. From thence to the head of Little River 
on a First-day, where was a crowded meeting, and I believe it was 
through Divine goodness made profitable to some. Thence to 
the Old Neck, where I was led into a careful searching out the 
secret workings of the Mj^stery of Iniquity, which under a cover 
of Religion, exalts itself against that pure Spirit which leads in 
the way of meekness & self Denial. From thence to Piney Woods : 
This was the last meeting in Carolina, and was large, and my 
heart being deeply engaged, I was drawn forth into a Fervent 
Labour amongst them. 

When I was at New-begun Creek, a Friend was there who 
laboured for his living, having no Negroes, and had been a min- 
ister many years : he came to me the next day, and as we rode 

IV 1757 20I 

together, he signified that he wanted to talk with me concerning 
a difficulty he had been under, and related it nearly as follows, 
to wit. That as moneys had of late years been raised by a Tax 
to Carry on the wars, he had a Scruple in his mind in regard to 
paying it, and Chose rather to suffer distraint of goods than pay 
to it. And as he was the only person who refused it in those 
parts, and knew not that any one Else was in the like Circum- 
stance, he signified that it had been a heavy tryal upon him, and 
the more so, for that some of his brethren had been uneasie with 
his conduct in that case. And added that from a Sympathy he felt 
with me yesterday in meeting, he found a freedom thus to open 
the matter, in the way of querying concerning Friends in our 
parts. Whereupon I told him the state of Friends amongst us, as 
well as I was able ; and also, that I had for some time been under 
the like Scruple. I believed him to be one who was concerned 
to talk uprightly before the Lord, and Esteemed it my duty to 
preserve this [Memorandum] Concerning him, Samuel Newby.'^ 

From hence I went back into Virginia, and had a meeting near 
James Cowpland's.'* It was a time of inward suffering, but 
through the goodness of the Lord I was made content. Thence 
to another meeting [On a first day of the week,] where through 
the renewings of pure love, we had a very Comfortable meeting. 

Traveling up and down of late, I have had renewed evidences 
that to be faithful to the Lord and Content with his will concern- 
ing me is a most necessary and useful Lesson to me to be learn- 
ing. Looking less at the Effects of my labour, than at the pure 
motion and reality of the Concern as it arises from Heavenly Love. 
In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting Strength, and as the mind by 
a humble resignation is united to Him, and we utter words from 
an inward Knowledge that they arise from the Heavenly Spring, 
Though our way may be difficult, and require Close Attention to 
keep in it. And though the manner in which we are led may tend 
to our own abasement, yet if we continue in patience & meekness. 
Heavenly Peace is the reward of our Labours. 

From thence I went to Curies meeting, which, though small, 
was reviving to the honest hearted. Thence to Black Creek and 
Caroline meetings. Thence accompanied by William Standley,^^ 
we rode to Goose Creek, being much through the woods, and 
about one hundred miles. We lodged the first night at a publick 


House. The second in the woods, & the next day we reached a 
friends house at Goose Creek. In the woods we lay under some 
disadvantage, having no fireworks, nor bells for our Horses, but 
we stoped a little before night and we let them feed on the wild 
grass which was plenty, the mean time cutting with our knives a 
store against night, and then tied them, & gathering some bushes 
under an oak, we lay down ; but the mosquetoes being pleanty & 
the ground damp, I slept but little. 

Thus lying in the wilderness and looking up at the Stars, I was 
led to contemplate the Condition of our First Parents, when they 
were sent forth from the Garden. [And considered that they had 
no house, nor tools for business. No Garments but what their 
Creator gave them, no Vessels for use, nor any fire tq cook roots 
or herbs.] ^ But the Almighty Being, though they had been dis- 
obedient, was a Father to them,^ [and way opened in process of 
time for all the Conveniences of Life. And he who by the Gracious 
Influence of his Spirit, Illuminated their understanding, and 
Shewed them what was Acceptable to Him, and tended to their 
true Felicity as Intelligent Creatures, did also provide means for 
their happy living in this world, as they attended to the manifesta- 
tions of his Wisdom.] 

To provide things relative to our outward living in the Way of 
true Wisdom, is good, and the gift of Improving in things useful, 
is a good Gift, and comes from the Father of Lights. Many have 
had this gift, & from age to age, there have been Improvements 
of this kind made in the World. But some not keeping to the 
pure gift, have in the Creaturely Cunning & self-exaltation, sought 
out many Inventions, which Inventions of men, as distinct from 
that uprightness in which man was created, as in the first motion it 
was evil, so the effects of it have been, and are evil. That, at this 
day it is as necessary for us constantly to Attend on the heavenly 
gift, to be qualified to use rightl)' the good things in this life 
amidst great Improvements, as it was for our First Parents, when 
they were without any Improvements, without any Friend or any 
Father but God only. 

I was at meeting at Goose Creek, and [then] at a monthly 
meeting at Fairfax, where through the Gracious Deahngs of the 

>MSS. A and B. 

" MSS. A and B. This passage was altered greatly in the first Edition by 
the Committee of 1774 [page 77] and was partly restored by J. Comly [ed. of 1837], 
as given here from the original MS. 

IV 1757 203 

Almighty with us, his power prevailed over many hearts. Thence 
to Manoquacy & Pipe Creek in Maryland, at both which places 
I had cause humbly to adore Him who Supported me through 
Sundry Exercises, and by whose help I was enabled to reach the 
true witness in the hearts of Others : There were some hopeful 
young people in those parts. Thence I had meetings at John 
Everit's,"' at Monalen/ and at Huntington, and was made humbly, 
thankful to the Lord, who opened my heart amongst the people in 
these new Settlements, so that it was a time of Encouragement 
to the honest minded. 

At Monalen. a Friend [where I lodged] gave me some account 
of a Religious Society among the Dutch, called Menonists, and 
amongst other things related a passage in Substance as follows. 
One of the Mennonists having Acquaintance with a man of another 
Society at a considerable distance, and being with his Wagon on 
business near the house of his said acquaintance, & night coming 
on he had thoughts of puting up with him but passing by his 
Fields, & observing the distressed appearance of his Slaves, he 
kindled a fire in the woods hard by, and lay there that night. His 
said acquaintance heard where he lodged, and afterward meeting 
the Menonist, told him of it, adding he should have been heartily 
welcome at his house ; and from their acquaintance before time, 
wondered at his conduct in that case. The Mennonist replyed, 
"Ever since I lodged by thy field. Eve wanted an opportunity to 
speak with thee. The matter was, I intended to have come to 
thy house for Entertainment, but seeing thy Slaves at their work, 
and observing the manner of their dress, I had no liking to come 
to partake with thee." Then admonished him to use them with 
more Humanity, and added, "As I lay by the fire that Night, I 
thought that [as] I was a man of [some] substance, thou would 
have received me freely, but if I had been as poor as one of thy 
Slaves, & had no power to help myself, I should have received 
from thy hand no kinder Usage than they have." 

Thence I was at three meetings on my way, and so went 
home under a Humbling sense of the Gracious Dealings of the 
Lord with me, in preserving me thro' many tryals and afflictions in 
mv Tourney.^ I was out about two months, & [rode] about 
eleven hundred and fifty miles. 

^ Menallen. 

!> MS. A. . 



A few years past, money being made current in our province 
for carrying on wars, and to be sunk by Taxes laid on the In- 
habitants, my mind was often affected with the thoughts of paying 
such Taxes, and I beHeve it right for me to preserve a memoran- 
dum concerning it. 

I was told that Friends in England frequently paid Taxes 
when the money was applied to such purposes. I had [confer- 
ence] with several Noted Friends on the subject, who all favoured 
the payment of such taxes. Some of whom I preferred before 
myself, and this made me easier for a time : yet there was in the 
deeps of my mind, a scruple which I never could get over; and, 
at certain times, I was greatly distressed on that account. 

I all along believed that there were some upright-hearted men 
who paid such taxes, but could not see that their Example was 
a Sufficient Reason for me to do so, while I believed that the 
Spirit of Truth required of me as an individual to suffer patiently 
the distress of goods, rather than pay actively. 

I have been informed that Thomas a Kempis lived & died in 
the profession of the Roman Catholick Religion, and in reading his 
writings, I have beheved him to be a man of a true Christian 
spirit, as fully so as many who died Martyrs because they could 
not join with some superstitions in that Church. 

All true Christians are of [one and] the same spirit, but their 
gifts are diverse; [Jesus] Christ appointing to each one their 
peculiar Office, agreeable to his Infinite Wisdom. 

John Huss Contended against the Errors crept into the Church, 
in oposition to the Council of Constance, which the historian 
reports to have consisted of many thousand persons. He modestly 
vindicated the cause which he believed was right, and though his 


V 1757 2o5 

language and Conduct toward his Judges appear to have been 
respectfull, yet he never could be moved from the principles set- 
tled in his mind. To use his own words : "This I most humbly 
require and desire of you all, even for His sake who is the God 
of us all, that I be not compelled to the thing which my Con- 
science doth repugn or strive against." And again in his answer 
to the emperor "I refuse nothing, most noble Emperor whatsoever 
the council shall decree or determine upon me, this only one thing 
I except, that I do not oflfend God and my Conscience." ^ At length 
rather than act contrarv' to that which he believed the Lord re- 
quired of Him, he chose to Suffer death by fire. Thomas a 
Kempis, without disputing against the Articles then generally 
agreed to, appears to have laboured, by a Pious Example as well' 
as by Preaching & writing to promote Virtue and the Inward 
Spiritual Religion, and I believe they were both sincere-hearted 
followers of Christ. [To me it looks likely tliat they were both in 
their proper places.] - 

True Charit)' is an excellent Virtue, and to sincerely Labour 
for their good, whose belief in all points, doth not agree with ours, 
is a happy case. To refuse the active payment of a Tax which 
our Society generally paid, was exceeding disagreeable; but to do 
a thing contrary to my Conscience appeared yet more dreadfull. 
When this exercise came upon me I knew of none under the like 
difficulty, and in my distress I besought the Lord to enable me to 
give up all, that so I might follow him wheresoever he was pleased 
to lead me, and under this Exercise I went to our Yearly Meeting 
at Philad'', in 1755, at which a Committee was appointed, some 
from each Quarter to Correspond with the meeting for Sufiferings 
in London, and another to Visit our ^Monthly and Quarterly meet- 
ings, and after their appointment before the last Adjournment of 
the meeting, it was agreed on in the meeting that these two Com- 
mittees should meet together in Friends School House ^ in the 
Cittv, at a time [when the Meeting stood adjourned] to con- 
sider some [cases] in which the cause of Truth was concerned : 
and these Committees meeting together had a weighty conferrence 

' Note by Waolman. Fox's "Acts and Monuments," p. 233. 

' MSS. A and B. Both include the last sentence of this paragraph, omitted 
by Committee of 1774 in first edition, p. 82. 

' "Friends' School House"; No. 119 South 4th St., Philadelphia, on the site of the 
present Forrest Building. 


in the fear of the Lord, at which time I perceived there were many 
Friends under a Scruple Hke that before mentioned/ 

As Scrupling to pay a tax on account of the application ^ hath 
seldom been heard of heretofore, even amongst men of Integrity, 
who have Steadily born their testimony against outward wars in 
their time, I may here note some things which have opened 
on my mind, as I have been inwardly Exercised on that ac- 

From the Steady oposition which Faithful! Friends in early 
times made to wrong things then approved of, they were hated 
and persecuted by men living in the Spirit of this world, & Suf- 
fering with firmness, they were made a Blessing to the Church, & 
the work prospered. It equaly concerns men in every age to take 
heed to their own Spirit : & in comparing their Situation with 
ours, it looks to me there was less danger of their being infected 
with the Spirit of this world in paying their taxes, than there is 
of us now. They had little or no Share in Civil Government, 
neither Legislative nor Executive & many of them declared they 
were through the power of God separated from the Spirit in which 
wars were, and being Afflicted by the Rulers on account of their 
Testimony, there was less likelyhood of uniting in Spirit with 
them in things inconsistent with the purity of Truth. We, from 
the first settlement of this Land have known little or no troubles 
of that sort. The profession, which for a time was accounted 
reproachfull, at length the uprightness of our predecessors being 
understood by the Rulers, & their Innocent Sufferings moving 
them, our way of Worship was tolerated, and many of our mem- 
bers in these colonies became active in Civil Government. Being 

^ MS. A, p. 70. Here follow two Extracts from the Jonnial of John Church- 
man — 1st Edit. 1779, pp. 68 ff, 169 if. John Woolman writes, "Since I had finished 
my Narrative of this Affair, having been favoured by my Beloved Friend 
John Churchman with the perusal of some notes which he made concerning some 
Exercise he went through on Account of our Testimony against Wars, as they 
contain some things relative to Facts, hereafter Spoken of, I thought good 
by his permission to copy the Substance of them in this place." A note in 
margin directs, "If this Journal be printed, let all the Quotn from J. Churchman's 
Notes be left out." J. Churchman's Journal was printed in r779: he died 2, 
7 mo. 1775, and the "extracts" are there given entire. They describe his visits 
to the assembly, then sitting in the State House [now Independence Hall], Phila. ■ 
in 1748, and again in 1755- On the first occasion he went alone. Seven years 
later, twenty Friends presented the address. 

- Note by John Woolman — "Christians refused to pay taxes to support Heathen 
Temples. See Cave's Primitive Christianity, part iii. page 327." 

V 1757 207 

thus tryed with favour and prosperity, this world hath appeared 
inviteing; our minds have been turned to the Improvement of our 
Country, to Merchandize and Sciences, amongst which are many 
things usefull, being followed in pure wisdom, but in our present 
condition that a Carnal mind is gaining upon us I believe will not 
be denied. 

Some of our members who are Officers in Civil Government 
are in one case or other called upon in their respective Stations 
to Assist in things relative to the wars, Such being in doubt 
whether to act or crave to be excused from their Office, Seeing 
their Brethren united in the payment of a Tax to carry on the 
said wars, might think their case [nearly like theirs, &] so quench 
the tender movings of the Holy Spirit in their minds, and thus 
by small degrees there might be an approach toward that of Fight- 
ing, till we came so near it, as that the distinction would be little 
else but the name of a peaceible people. 

It requires great self-denial and Resignation of ourselves to 
God to attain that state wherein we can freely cease from fighting 
when wrongfully Invaded, if by our Fighting there were a prob- 
ability of overcoming the invaders. Whoever rightly attains to it, 
does in some degree feel that Spirit in which our Redeemer gave 
his life for us, and, through Divine goodness many of our pre- 
decessors, and many now living, have learned this blessed lesson, 
but many others having their Religion chiefly by Education, & not 
being enough acquainted with that Cross which Crucifies to the 
world, do manifest a Temper distinguishable from that of an 
Entire trust in God. 

In calmly considering these things it hath not appeared strange 
to me, that an exercise hath now fallen upon some, which as to 
the outward means of it is different from what was known to 
many of those who went before us. 

A day being appointed, [and letters wrote to distant mem- 
bers] ^ the said cominittees met and by adjournments continued 
several days. The Calamities of war were now increasing. The 
Frontier Inhabitants of Pensilvania were frequently surprised, 
some Slain, and many taken Captive by the Indians, and while 
these Committees sat, the Corpse of one so Slain was brought in 

^ MS. B includes this sentence. 


a wagon, and taken through the Streets of the Citty, in his Bloody 
garments, to Alarm the people, and rouse them up to war.^ 

Friends thus met were not all of one mind in relation to the 
tax, which to such who scrupled it made the way more difficult. 
To refuse an active payment at such a time, might be an act of 
disloyalty, and appeared likely to displease the Rulers, not only 
here but in England ; still there was a scruple so fastened upon the 
minds of many Friends, that nothing moved it; It was a Confer- 
ence the most weighty that ever I was at, and the hearts of many 
were bowed in Reverence before the Most High. Some Friends 
of the said Committees who appeared easie to pay the tax, after 
several adjournments, withdrew, other such continued till the last. 
At length, an Epistle was drawn by some Friends concerned on 
that Account, and being read several times and Corrected, was then 
signed by such as were free to sign it.^ 

"Dear & Well Beloved Friends" 

"We Salute you in a fresh & renewed Sence of our Heavenly 
"Fathers Love which hath Graciously overshadowed us in several 
"Weighty & Solid Conferrences we have had together with many 
"other Friends upon the present Scituation of the Affairs of the 
"Society in this province and in that Love we find our Spirits en- 
gaged to acquaint you that under a Solid Exercise of mind to seek 
for Councill & direction from the High priest of our profession who 
is the prince of peace we believe he hath renewedly favoured us 
with Strong and lively Evidences that in his due & appointed time, 
the day which hath dawned in these "later ages foretold by the 
"profets wherein Swords Should be beaten into plowshares & Spears 
"into pruning hooks Shall gloriously rise higher & higher" & the 
Spirit of the Gospel which teaches to love Enemies prevail to that 
degree that the art of war shall be no more learned ; And that it is 
his determination to Exact this Blessed day in this our age, if 
in the depth of Humility we receive his instruction, & obey his 

^ See note, p. 38. The Journal at the opening of Chapter V rceurs to the 
political situation of two years earlier, i.e. 1755. 

-MS. A. This "Epistle of Caution" is dated, "Philadelphia, 16 da. 12 mo. 1755." 
Most, if not all of its authorship is Woolman's. It occurs in the MS. on page 78, 
entirely in Woolman's hand. The Meeting for Sufferings, 3 mo. 3, 17.S7, petitioned 
the Assembly against the establishment of a militia in Pennsylvania. James Pemberton 
was the Clerk, in whose hand the full text may be found, in Vol. I, p. 75, of the 
minutes. John Woolman was a member. 

" I'^olio A, pp. 78-81, inclusive. 

V 1757 209 

And being painfully apprehensive that the large Sum granted by 
the late act of Assembly for the Kings use is principaly intended for 
purposes inconsistant with our peaceble Testimony, we therefore 
think that as we cannot be concerned in wars and fightings, so neither f"' 
ought we to Contribute thereto by paying the Tax directed by the 
said Act, though suffering be the Consequence of our refusal; which 
we hope to be enabled to bear with patience. 

And though some part of the money to be raised by the said act 
is said to be for such Benevolent purposes as Supporting our Friend- 
ship with our Indian Neighbours, & relieving the distresses of our 
Fellow Subjects, who have Suffered in the present Calamities, for 
whom our hearts are deeply pained, and we Affectionately & with 
bowels of tenderness Sympathise with them therein : & we could 
most Cheerfully contribute to those purposes if they were not so 
mixed that we cannot in the maner proposed shew our hearty con- 
currence therewith without at the same time Assenting to, or allow- 
ing our selves in practices which we apprehend contrary to the Tes- 
timony which the Lord hath given us to bear for his name and 
Truths Sake — And having the health and prosperity of the Society 
at heart, we earnestly Exhort Friends to wait for the appearing of 
the true Light, and Stand in the Councell "of God, that we may know 
"Him to be the Rock of our Salvation and place [of] our Refuge for- 
"ever. And beware of the Spirit of this world that is unstable, & 
"often draws into dark & timmerous reasonings, lest the God thereof 
"should be Suffered to blind the Eye of the mind, and Such not know- 
"ing the sure Foundation, the Rock of ages" may partake of the 
Terrors and fears, that are not known to the Inhabitants of that place 
where the Sheep and Lambs of Christ ever had a quiet Habitation; 
which a remnant have to Say to the praise of his name they have 
been blessed with a measure of in this day of Distress. — 

And as our Fidelity to the present Government, & our willingly 
paying all Taxes for purposes which do not interfere with our Con-=c^ 
sciences may justly Exempt us from the Imputation of disloyalty, So 
we earnestly desire that all who by a deep & quiet seeking for direc- 
tion from the Holy Spirit, are or Shall be convinced that he calls 
us as a people to this Testimony may dwell under the guidance of 
the same Divine Spirit & manifest by the meekness & Humility of 
their Conversation that they are Realy under that Influence, & therein , 
may know true Fortitude & patience to bear that & every other Testi- 
mony commited to them Faithfully & Uniformly: & that all Friends 
may know their Spirits Cloathed with true Charity the bond of 
Christian fellowship wherein we again Salute you & remain your 
friends & brethren. 


da mo I s^- — -^ 

Pliilad" i6. 12. 1755. Signed by Abraham Farrington, ^oh n Ev ans] 
John Churchman, Mordecai Yarnall, Sam' Fothergill, Sarnuel 
Eastburn, William Brown, John Scarborrow, Thomas Carleton, Joshua 
Ely, W" Jackson, James Bartram, Thomas Brown, Daniel Stanton, 
John Woolman, Isaac Zane, William Home, Benjamin Trotter, An- 
thony Benezet, John Armit, John Pemberton.' 

Copies of this Epistle were sent amongst Friends in the several 
parts of the Province of Pennsylvania, and as Some in the Society 
who were easie to pay the Tax Spake . . . openly against it, and as 
some of those who were concerned in the Conferrence . . . believed 
themselves rightly exercised in puting forward the Epistle, They in 
the next Yearly meeting Exprest a willingness to have their conduct 
in that case Enquired into. But friends in the Yearly Meeting did 
not . . . enter into the Consideration of it^ When the Tax was gath- 
ered many paid it Actively and Others Scrupled the payment, and in 
Many places [the Collectors & Constables being friends] distress was 
made on their goods . . . by their fellow members This deficulty was 
Considerable and at the Yearly Meeting at Philad' 1757 the matter 
was opened and a Committee of about . . . forty Friends were ap- 
pointed Some from each Quarter to consider the case, and report 
their Judgment on this point whither or no it would be best at this 
time publickly to Consider it in the Yearly meeting 

At this meeting were our Friends William Reckett,"*" John Hunt,' 
and Christopher Willson " from England, Benjamin Ferris"" from the 
Province of New York, and Thomas Nicholson from North Carolina, 
who at the request of the Yearly Meeting all sat with us, — 

we met and Seting some hours adjourned untill the next morning: 
It was a time of deep Exercise to many minds, and after some hours 
spent at our Second meeting the following report was drawn & Sign"" 
by a ix^ in behalf of y" Committee 

"Agreeable to the appointment of the Yearly meeting we have met 
"& had(several weighty & deliberate conferrencesjon the Subject com- 
"mited to us and as we find there are diversity of Sentiments we are 
"for that & Several other reasons Unanimously of the Judgment that 
"it is not proper to enter into a publick discussion of the matter & 
"we are one in Judgment that it is highly necessary for the yearly 
"meeting to recoiiiend that Friends every where endeavour earnestly 
"to have their minds covered with fervent Charity towards one an- 
"other which report was entered on the minutes & Copies sent in the 
Extracts to the Quarterly & monthly Meetings. 

' See Biog. Note, 113. 

V 1757 211 

da mo 

On the 9. 8. 1757 at night orders came to the Military Officers 
in our County,^ directing them to draft the Militia, and prepare a 
number of men to go off as Souldiers, to the relief of the English 
at Fort William Henry in York - government [which was then 
Besieged by a number of French & Indians, and in] a few days 
there was a general review of the Militia at Mountholly, and a 
number of men chosen and sent off under some Officers. Shortly 
after, there came orders to draft three times as many, to hold 
themselves in readiness to march when fresh orders came for it. 

da mo 
On the 17. 8. there was a meeting of the Military Officers at 
Mountholly who agreed on a draft and orders were sent to the 
men so chosen, to meet their respective Captains at set times and 
places ; those in our Township to meet at Mountholly, amongst 
whom were a considerable number of our Society. 

My mind being aft'ected herewith, I had fresh opertunity to 
see and|iconsider the advantage of living in the real Substance of 
Religion, where practice doth harmonize with principle_!) Amongst 
the Officers are men of understanding who have some regard to 
Sincerity where they see it, and in the Execution of their Office, 
when they have men to deal with whom they believe to be upright- 
hearted. To put them to trouble on account of Scruples of Con- 
science is a painfull task, & likely to be avoided as much as may 
be easily. But where men profess to be so meek & Heavenly 
minded, and to have their trust so firmly settled in God, that they 
caiinot Joyn in wars and yet by their Spirit and conduct in comon 
life, manifest a Contrary disposition. Their difficulties are great 
at such a time. Officers in great anxiety endeavouring to get 
troops to answer the demands of their Superiors, seeing men who 
are insincere pretend scruple of Conscience, in hopes of being 
excused from a dangerous employment, they are likely to be 
roughly handled. In this time of Commotion, some of our young 
men left these parts, and tarried abroad till it was over. Some came 
and proposed to go as Souldiers. Others appear'd to have a 
real tender Scruple in their minds against Joining in wars, and 
were much humbled under the apprehension of a Tryal so near. I 

^ Burlington, New Jersey. 
2 New York. 


had conversation with several of them to niy satisfaction. At the 
set time when the Captain came to Town some of those last men- 
tioned went and toitl him in suhstance as follows, "That they 
could not hear Arms for Conscience Sake, nor could they hire 
any to go in their places heing- resifjned as to the event of it." At 
lenL;th the Captain aciiu;iinted them all, that they might return 
lumic for the pri'sent. ;nid rei|uircd them to [trovide ' [tlicniscU es 
as Soldiers,] and In lie in rt'adincss to march when called upon. 

This was such a time as 1 had not seen before, and yet I may 
say with thank fullness to the Lord, that I believe this tryal was 
intended for our good, and 1 was favoured with Resignation to 
him. The French Army taking the I'ort they were besieging, de- 
stroye^l it & went aw,i\'. The Conipany of men lirst drafted, after 
some days march, had iirders to return home, and those on the 
secontl tlraft were no more called upon on that (-\-casion. 
da mo 

'lite 4. 4. 1758, t)rders came to some Ofl'icers in Mountholly, 
to prepare quarters a short time for about one hundred Soldiers, 
and an Oflicer and two other men ;dl iiihabil;uits of our town, 
came to my house and the Officer tokl nie that he came to speak 
with me to provitle lodging and entertainment for two Souldicrs, 
there being si.K shillings a week pr. man allowed as i>a\' fur it. The 
case being new and ime.xpccted, I niailc no answer suiMenly, but 
sat a time silent,(my mind being inward.} I was fully convinced 
that the proceedings in wars are inconsistent with the Purity of 
the Christian Religion and to be hired to entertain men who were 
under p.ay as Soldiers was a diiliculty with me. I Expected they 
had legal authority for what they did and after a slK)rt time 1 
said to the officer, "If the men are sent here for entertainment, 1 
believe I shall not refuse to admit them into my house, but llu' 
nature of the Case is such that 1 expect 1 cannot keep them on 
hire." One of the men intimated he thought 1 might do it consist- 
ant with my Iveligious principles, to which 1 made no reply as 
believing Silence at that time best for me. 

Though they spake of two, there came only one, who tiuried 
at my house about two weeks, and behaNed himself civily ; and 
when the officer came to pay me 1 told him 1 could not take pay 
for it, having admitted him into my house in a passive obedience 

' MS. B "Soklier-like nci-outrcmt'iiLs uucli as he iiiciilioiu'd to tlu*m." 

V . 1758 213 

to authority. I was on horseback when he spake to me; and as 
I turned from him he said he was obliged to me, to which I said 
nothing; but thinking on the Expression I grew uneasie and 
afterwards being near where he hved, I went [to liis house] and 
told him on what grounds I refused pay for keeping the Souldier 
[and I refused it. He said he was oblieged to me, and I was now 
come to acquaint him more fully on what grounds I refused to 
take it— the which I did & so we parted.] ^ 

Near the begining of the year 1758, I went one evening in 
company with a friend to visit a sick person and before our return 
we were told of a woman living near who of late had several 
days together been disconsolate, ocasioned by a Dream wherein 
death and the Judgments of the Almighty after Death were 
represented to her mind in a moving maner: her sadness on that 
account [and her former course of Life] being worn of, the friend 
with whom I was in company went to see her and had some 
religious conversation with her and her husband [concerning their 
Maner of life] With this visit they were somewhat EiTected, 
and the man in particular, with many tears Expresst his Satisfac- 
tion and in a short time after the poor man being on the River in 
a storm of Wind he with one more was drowned, 

In the 8. 1758 having had drawings in my mind to be at the 
Quarterly meeting in Chester county, and at some meetings in 
Philad'^ county, I went first to said Quarterly meeting, which was 
large ; and several matters of weight came under consideration and 
debate, and the Lord was pleased to Qualify some of his Servants 
with Strength and firmness to bear the burthen of the day. Though 
I said but little my mind was deeply Exercised, and under a sense 
of Gods love in the anointing & fiting of some young men for 
his work, I was comforted, and my heart was tendered before him. 
From hence I went to the youths meeting at Darby where my 
beloved friend and Brother Benjamin ^ Jones ^'^ met me by an 
agreement made before I left home, to join in the Visit and we 
were at Radnor, Merrion, Richland, Northwales, Plimouth, and 
Abington and had cause to bow in reverence before the Lord our 

* MS. B omits this sentence. 

- Benjamin Jones was father-in-law of John Woolman's nephew, Uz, son of 
Zebulon & Estfier (Woolman) Gauntt. 


Gracious God, by whose help way was opened for us from day 
to day. I was out about two weeks, and rode about 200 miles. 

\()ne evening a Friend came to our Lodgings who was a 
[ustice of the Peace, and in a friendly way introduced the Subject 
of J\efusing to pay taxes to Support wars and perceiving that I 
was one who Scrupled the payment. Said that he had wanted an 
( )pi>rtunity A\'ith sonic in that ("ircumstance, whereupon we had 
some Conversation in a Brotherly way on Some texts of Scripture 
relating thereto, in the Conclusion of which he said that According 
to Our way of proceeding it would follow that whenever the 
Administration of Government was ill, we must Suffer destraint 
of goods rather than pay actively toward Supporting it. 1^.; 
which I replied Men put in publick Stations are intended for good 
purposes, Some to make good laws, others to take care that those 
laws are not broken. Now if these men thus set apart do not 
answer the design of their Institution, our freely contributing to 
Support them in that Capacity when we certainly know that they 
are wrong, is to Strengthen them in a wrong way & tends to makr 
them forget that it is so, F.ut when from a Clear understanding hi 
the case we are Really uneasie with the application of money, and 
in the Spirit of meekness suffer distress to be made on our goods 
rather than pay actively, this joyned with an upright Uniform 
life may tend to put men a thinking about their own publick 

He said he would propose a Medium. That is, where men in 
Authority do not act agreable to the mind of those who Con- 
stituted them he thought the people should Rather Remonstrate 
than refuse a Volentary payment of moneys so demanded, and 
added. Civil Government is an agreement of free men, by which 
they Oblige themselves to Abide by Certain Laws as a Standard, 
and to refuse to Obey in that Case is of the like nature as to refuse 
to do any particular act which we had Covenanted to do. I replied, 
that in making Covenants, it was agreeable to Honesty and up- 
rightness to take care that we do not foreclose ourselves from 
adhering Strictly to true Virtue in all Occurrences relating thereto. 
But if I should unwarily promise to Obey the orders of a Certain 
man, or numlier of men, without any proviso, and he, or they 
Coifiand me to assist in doing some great Wickedness, I may then 
Se my error in making Such promise and an active Obedience in 

V 1758 215 

that case would be Ading one evil to another : That though by 
Such promise I should be lyable to punishment for disobedience, 
yet to Suffer rather than Act to me appears most Virtuous. <• — ' 

The whole of our Conversation was in Calmness & good Will. 
And here it may be noted that in Pehsylvania, where there are 
many friends under that Scruple, a petition was presented to the 
Assembly by a large number of friends, asking that no Law might 
be passed to Enjoyn the payment of money for such Uses, which 
they as a peacable people could not pay for Conscience Sake.] ^ 

The ]\Ionthh' IMceting of Philad'^. having been under a concern 
on account of Some Friends who this summer A. D. 1758 had 
bought Negro Slaves, the said meeting moved it in their Quar- 
terly meeting, to have the minute reconsidered in the Yearly Meet- 
ing, which was made last on that subject: And the said Quarterly 
meeting appointed a Committee to consider it and report to their 
next, [being that preceding the Yearly Meeting.] Which Com- 
mittee having met once and adjourned, and I going to Philad^. 
to meet a Committee of the Yearly Meeting, was in Town the 
Evening on which the Quarterly meetings Committee met the 
Second time ; and finding an inclination to sit with them was with 
some others admited, and Friends had a weighty conference, on 
the subject. And soon after their next Quarterly meeting, I 
heard that the case was coming to our Yearly Meeting, which 
brought a weighty Exercise upon me, and under a Sense of my 
own infirmities, and the great danger I felt of turning aside from 
perfect purity, my mind was often drawn to retire alone, and 
put up my prayers to the Lord, that he would be graciously 
pleased to so strengthen me, that, seting aside all views of Self 
Interest and the friendship of this world, I might stand fully 
resigned to his Holy Will. 

In this Yearly Meeting Several weighty matters were con- 
sidered and toward the last, that in relation to dealing with per- 
sons who purchase Slaves. During the Several Sittings of the 
said meeting, my mind was frequently covered with inward prayer, 
and I could say with David that tears were my meat day and 
night. The case of Slave Keeping lay heavy upon me. nor did I 
find any Engagement to speak directly to any other matter before 

1 MS. A, p. 90. This incident is not given in B nor in ist Ed. 1774. It occurred 
in Philadelphia. 


the meeting. Now when this case was opened, Several Faithfull 
Friends spake weightily thereto, with which I was Comforted, and 
feeling a Concern to cast in my mite, I said in Stibstance, as 
follows : 

"In the difficulties attending us in this life, nothing is more 
precious than the mind of Truth inwardly manifested, and it is 
my Earnest Desire that in this weighty Matter we may be so 
truly humbled, as to be favoured with a clear understanding of the 
mind of Truth, and follow it : this would be of more advantage 
to the society, than any mediums [which are] not in the Clear- 
ness of Divine wisdom. The case is difficult to Some who have 
them, but if such set aside all self-interest, and come to be 
weaned from the desire of geting Estates, or even from holding 
them together when Truth requires the Contrary, I believe way 
will open, that they will know how to Steer through those diffi- 

Many Friends appeared to be deeply bowed under the weight 
of the work ; and manifested much firmness in their Love to the 
Cause of Truth and universal Righteousness in the Earth. And 
though none did openly Justifie the practice of Slave Keeping in 
■^ general, yet some appear'd concern'd, lest the meeting Should go 
into Such measures as might give uneasiness to Many Brethren, 
alledging that if Friends patiently (Continued under the exercise, 
the Lord in time to Come, might open a way for the Deliverance 
of these people, and I finding an Engagement to speak said "My 
mind is ofteil led to consider the purity of the Divine Being, and 
the Justice of his Judgments and herein my Soul is covered 
with awfullness. I cannot omit to hint of some cases, where people 
have not been treated with the purity of justice, and the event 
hath been lamentable. Many Slaves on this continent are op- 
pressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most High! 
Such are the purity and certainty of his judgments, that he can- 
not be partial [toward any.] In infinite love and goodness he 
hath opened our understandings from time to [time respecting] 
our duty toward this people, and it is not a time for delay. Should 
we now be sensible of what he requires of us, and through a 
respect to the outward interest of some persons, or through a 
regard to some friendships which do not stand on the immutable 
foundation, neglect to do our duty in firmness & constancy, still 

V 1758 217 

waiting for some extraordinary means to bring about their free- 
dom, it may be that by Terrible things in Righteousness God many 
answer us in this matter." ^ 

Many faithful brethren laboured with great firmness, and the 
love of Truth in a good degree, prevailed. Several Friends who 
had Negroes, exprest their desire that a rule might be made to 
deal with such Friends as Offenders who might buy Slaves in 
future. To this it was [replied] that the root of this evil would 
not be removed from amongst us, till a close enquiry was made in 
[regard to the righteousness of] their motives [who detained 
Negroes in their service] that impartial justice might be admin- 
istered throughout. Several Friends exprest a desire that a visit 
might be made to such Friends who kept Slaves: and many 
Friends said that they believed Uberty was the Negroes right, to 
which at length no opposition was made publickly. A minute was 
[at length] made more full on that Subject than any heretofore 
and the names of several Friends entered who were free to joyn 
in a visit to such who [kept] Slaves. 

1 The italics are John Woolman's. 



da mo 

The II. II. 1758, I set out for Concord. That Quarterly 
meeting, [which] heretofore was [but one, was now,] by reason 
of a great increase of Members divided into two by agreement of 
Friends at our last Yearly Meeting. Here I met with our be- 
loved friends Samuel Spavold "' and Mary Kirby "* from Eng- 
land, [now on a Religious visit] And with Joseph White '^ from 
Bucks county, who had taken leave of his wife & family in order 
to go on a religious visit to England and through Divine good- 
aiess, we were favoured with a strengthening oportunity together, 
s" After this meeting I joyned with my friends Daniel Stanton^" 
and John Scarborough "'* in visiting Friends who had Slaves, and 
at night we had a family meeting at WilHam Trimbles,^"" [there 
being a good] many young people and it was a precious reviving 
oportunity. Next morning we had a comfortable siting with a 
Sick neighbour, and thence to the Burial of a Friend at Uwchland ^ 
meeting, at which were many people, and it was a time of Divine 
Favour, after which we visited some who had Slaves. The next 
day we visited Several others who had Slaves, and at night had a 
family siting at our friend Aaron Ashbridges,"^ where the Chaiiel 
^of Gospel Love was opened, and my rnind was comforted after a 
hard days Labour. The next day was at Goshen monthly meeting; 

da mo 
and then, on the 18. 11. 1758, attended the Quarterly meeting at 
London Grove,- it being the first held at that place. Here we met 
again with all the before mentioned Friends, and had some Edefy- 
ing meetings & near the Conclusion of the meeting for business. 
Friends were Incited to Constancy in Supporting the Testimony 

^ Uwchlan, Pennsylvania, 

- London Grove was set off from Goshen when the latter grew too large, and 
I'Vitnds settled at the former place in great numbers, 


VI 1758 219 

of Truth, & reminded of the necessity which the [Disciples] 
of [Christ] are under to attend principally to his business as he 
is pleased to open it to us ; and to be particularly caref uU to have 
our minds redeemed from the Love of Wealth; to have our out- 
ward Affairs in as little room as may be, that no temporal con- 
cerns may entangle our Affections, or hinder us from diligently 
following the dictates of Truth, in Labouring to promote the pure 
Spirit of Meekness and heavenly mindedness amongst the Chil- 
dren of men, in these days of Calamity wherein God is visiting 
our Land with his just Judgments. [After this I rode home.] 

Each of these Quarterly meetings were large, and sat near 
eight hours : here I had occasion to consider that it is a weighty 
thing to speak much in large meetings for Business [First.] ex- 
cept our minds are rightly prepared, & we clearly understanding 
the case we speak to, instead of forwarding, we hinder business, 
and make Labour for those on whom the burden of the work is 

If selfish views or party spirit have any room in our minds 
we are unfit for the Lords work. If we have a clear prospect 
of the business, and proper weight on our minds to speak, it 

■ behoves us to avoid Useless Apologies and repetitions. Where 
people are gathered from far, and Adjourning a meeting of 
business is attended with great difficulty, it behoves all to be cau- 
tious how they detain a meeting, especially when they have sat 
Six or Seven hours and have a good way to ride home. [In 300 
minutes are 5 hours and he that improperly detains three hundred 
people one minute in a Meeting, besides other Evils that attend 
it, does an injury like that of Imprisoning one man 5 hours with- 
out cause. ]^ 

In the begining of the 12. 1758, I joyned in company with 
my friends John Sykes ^^ and Daniel Stanton,*" in visiting such 

"•^ho had Slaves. Some whose hearts were rightly Exercised 
about them,2 appear'd to be glad of our visit, and in some places 
our way was more difficult, and I often saw the necessity of keep- 
ing down to that Root from whence our Concern proceeded, and 
have cause, in Reverent Thankfulness, humbly to bow down 

1 MSS. A and B both include this paragraph. All editors omit it. 

' MS. B "and were concerned to do the thing that was right." 


before the Lord, who was near to me, and preserved my mind in 
Calmness under Some Sharp Conflicts, and begat a Spirit of 
Sympathy and tenderness in me, toward Some who were griev- 
ously Entangled by the Spirit of this world. 

In the I. 1759, having found my mind drawn toward a visit 
to Some of the more active members in our Society at Philad" 
who had Slaves, I met John Churchman ^^ there by an agreement 
and we Continued about a week in the Citty. We visited some sick 
people & Some Widows and their Families and the other part 
of our time was mostly Employed in Visiting such who had Slaves. 
It was a time of deep Exercise, Looking often to the Lord for his 
Assistance, who in unspeakable kindness, favour'd us with the 
influence of that Spirit which Crucifies to the world, and Enabled 
us to go through some heavy Labours in which we found peace. 

da mo 

24: 3: 1759, I was at our General Spring meeting at Philad'' 
at which was William Reckit ^"^ and John Storer ^^ from England 
and after this meeting I again joyned with John Churchman '^ 
on a Visit to some more who had Slaves in Philad''; and, with 
Thankfulness to Our Heavenly Father I may say, that Divine 
Love and a true Sympathizing Tenderness of heart attended us. 
Having at times perceived a Shyness in some Friends of Con- 
siderable note towards me, I found an Engagement in Gospel 
love to pay a Visit to one of them, and as I kept under the 
Exercise I felt a Resignedness in my mind to go. So I went [to 
his house] and told him in private I had a desire to have an 
Oportunity with him alone, to which he readily agreed. And then 
in the Fear of the Lord, things relating to that Shyness were 
Searched to the bottom, and we had a large conference which 
I believe was of use to both of us, and am thankfuU that way was 
opened for it. 

da mo 

14. 6. 1759 having felt drawings in my mind to visit Friends 
about Salem, and having the [agreement] of our Monthly Meet- 
ing therein, I attended their Quarterly meeting, and was out 
Seven days, and was at seven meetings, in some of which I was 
chiefly Silent, and in others, through the Baptizing power of 
Truth, my heart was Enlarged in Heavenly Love, and found a 

VI I 759 221 

near fellow feeling with the Brethren and Sisters in the mani- 
fold tryals attending their Christian progress through this world, 

In 7. 1759, I found an increasing concern on my mind to 
visit some active members in our Society who had Slaves, and 
having no Oportunity of the Company of Such who were nam'd 
on the minutes of the Yearly Meeting, I went alone to their houses, 
and in the fear of the Lord acquainted them with the Exercise 
I was under, and thus sometimes by a few words I found myself 
discharged from a heavy burthen. 

After this, our frd John Churclimaiv^'^ coming ir^to our 
province with a view to be at Some meetings, and to joyn again 
in the Visit to those who had Slaves, I bore him Company in 
the said visit to some active members [in which I] found inward 

At our Yearly Meeting 1759 we had some weighty [meetings] 
where the power of Truth was largely Extended to the strengthen- 
ing of the honest-minded. As friends read over,ilie^Epistles_to 
be sent to the Yearly Meetings along this Continent, I observed 
in most of them, both this year and last, it was recommended to 
Friends to labour against Buying and keeping Slav es, and in some 
of them closely treated upon. As this practice hath long been a 
heavy Exercise to me, as I have often waded through mortifying 
Labours on that account, and at times, in some meetings been al- 
most alone therein; now observing the increasing concern [in the] 
Society, and Seeing how the Lord was Raising up and Qualifying 
Servants for his work, not only in this respect, but for promoting 
the Cause of Truth in general, I was humbly bowed in thankfull- 
ness before him. 

This meeting continued near a week and several days the fore 
part of it, my mind was drawn into a deep inward Stillness, and 
being at times, covered with the spirit of supplication my heart 
was Secretly poured out before the Lord, and near the end [I felt 
an increasing Exercise to Speak, and near the Conclusion of the 
last meeting for Business, way opened,] that in the pure flowing 
of Divine love I exprest what lay upon me which as it then aros; 
in my mind was first to show how deep answers to deep in the 
hearts of sincere & upright men though in their different growths 
they may not all have attained to the same clearness in some points 


relating to our Testimony, Wherein I was led to mention the 
Integrity and Constancy of Many Martyrs who gave their lives 
for the testimony of Jesus ; and yet in some points held doctrines 
distinguishable from some which we hold. How that in all ages 
where people were Faithfull to the Light and understanding which 
the Most High afforded them they found acceptance with Him, 
and that now, though there are different ways of thinking amongst 
us in some particulars, yet if we mutually kept to that Spirit and 
power which Crucifies to the world, which teaches us to be con- 
tent with things realy needful, and to avoid all Superfluities, giving 
up our hearts to fear and Serve the Lord, true Unity may Still be 
preserved amongst us. And that if such, who at times were under 
sufferings on Account of some scruples of Conscience, kept low & 
humble, and in their Conduct in life manifested a Spirit of true 
Charity it would be more likely to reach the witness in others 
and be of more Service in the Church, than if their Sufferings 
were attended with a Contrary Spirit and Conduct. In which 
Exercise I was drawn into a Sympathizing Tenderness with the 
Sheep of Christ, however distinguished one from another in this 
world, and the like disposition appear'd to spread over some 
others in the meeting. Great is the Goodness of y*" Lord toward 
us, his poor Creatures. 

An Epistle went forth from this Yearly Meeting, which I 
think good to give a place in this Journal [which is] as follows ^ 

Prom the Yearly Meeting held at Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania and 
Nczv Jersey, from, the 22d day of the gth month, to the 2StIi of the 
same, inclusive, 1759. 

To the Quarterly and Monthly meetings of Friends belonging to the 
said Yearly Meeting. 

Dearly beloved friends and brethren, — 

In an awful sense of the wisdom and goodness of the Lord our 

' MS. A, p. 97. This sentence, "An Epistle went forth," has been written 
over an erasure that has been deciphered, as follows: "A short time before I 
went to this Yearly Meeting, I felt a weight on my Mind in regard to Writing 
on Some Subjects then Opened before me, whereupon I wrote an Essay of 
an Epistle, which, being examined and corrected by the Committee on the Epistle, 
was signed by a number of Friends in behalf of the Meeting, and was as 

follows" . A note at bottom of MS. B, p. 177, reads, "1772. I am easier 

that that Epistle be left out." He omits it in MS. A. It has been included 
in every printed edition, and is here retained because his note proves Wool- 
man's authorship. The original broadside, printed by Benjamin Franklin, is in 
the Library of Haverford College, Pa. 

VI 1759 223 

God, whose tender mercies have long been continued to us in this 
land, we affectionately salute you; with sincere and fervent desires, 
that we may reverently regard the dispensations of his providence, 
and improve under them. 

The empires and kingdoms of the earth are subject to his Almighty 
power. He is the god of the spirits of all flesh; and deals with hi; 
people agreeable to that wisdom, the depth whereof is to us un- 
searchable. We, in these provinces, may say, He hath, as a gracious 
and tender parent, dealt bountifully with us, even from the days of 
our fathers. It was He who strengthened them to labour through 
the difficulties attending the improvement of a wilderness, and made 
way for them in the hearts of the natives ; so that by them they were 
comforted in times of want and distress ; it was by the gracious' 
influences of his holy spirit, that they were disposed to work right- 
eousness, and to walk uprightly one towards another, and towards 
the natives ; and in life and conversation to manifest the excellency 
of the principles and doctrines of the christian religion ; and thereby 
they retain their esteem and friendship. Whilst they were labouring 
for the necessaries of life, many of them were fervently engaged 
to promote piety and virtue in the earth, and to educate their children 
in the fear of the Lord. 

If we carefully consider the peaceable measures pursued in the 
first settlement of the land, and that freedom from the desolations of 
wars, which for a long time we enjoyed, we shall find ourselves under 
strong obligations to the Almighty, who, when the earth is so gen- 
erally polluted with wickedness, gave us a being in a part so signally 
favoured with tranquillity and plenty; and in which the glad tidings 
of the gospel of Christ are so freely published, that we may justly 
say with the psalmist, "What shall we render unto the Lord for all 
his benefits !" 

Our own real good, and the good of our posterity, in some measure 
depends on the part we act; and it nearly concerns us to try our 
foundations impartially. Such are the different rewards of the just 
and unjust in a future state, that to attend diligently to the dictates 
of the spirit of Christ, to devote ourselves to his service, and engage 
fervently in his cause, during our short stay in this world, is a choice 
well becoming a free intelligent creature; we shall thus clearly see 
and consider that the dealings of God with mankind in a national 
capacity, as recorded in holy writ, do sufficiently evidence the truth 
of that saying, "It is righteousness which exalteth a nation." And 
tho' he doth not at all times suddenly execute his judgments on a 
sinful people in this life, yet we see by many instances, that where 
"men follow lying vanities, they forsake their own mercies:" and as 


a proud, selfish spirit prevails and spreads among a people, so partial 
judgment, oppression, discord, envy and confusions increase, and 
provinces and kingdoms are made to drink the cup of adversity as 
a reward of their own doings. Thus the inspired prophet, reasoning 
with the degenerated Jews, saith, "Thine own wickedness shall cor- 
rect thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee : know therefore, 
that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord 
thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of 
hosts." Jer. ii. 19. 

The God of our fathers, who hath bestowed on us many benefits, 
furnished a table for us in the wilderness, and made the deserts and 
solitary places to rejoice; he doth now mercifully call upon us to 
serve him more faithfully. We may truly say with the prophet, 
"It is his voice which crieth to the city, and men of wisdom see his 
name. They regard the rod, and him who hath appointed it." 

People who look chiefly at things outward, too little consider the 
original cause of the present troubles; but such who fear the Lord, 
and think often upon his name, they see and feel that a wrong spirit 
is spreading among the inhabitants of our country ; that the hearts 
of many are waxed fat, and their ears dull of hearing ; that the 
Most High, in his visitations to us, instead of calling, he lifteth up 
his voice and crieth ; he crieth to our country, and his voice waxeth 
louder and louder. 

In former wars between the English and other nations, since the 
settlement of our provinces, the calamities attending them have fallen 
chiefly on other places, but now of late they have reached to our 
borders: many of our fellow subjects have suffered on and near our 
frontiers ; some have been slain in battle, some killed in their houses, 
and some in their fields, some wounded and left in great misery, and 
others separated from their wives and little children, who have been 
carried captives among the Indians. We have seen men and women 
who have been witnesses of these scenes of sorrow, and being reduced 
to want, have come to our liouses asking relief. It is not long since 
it was the case of many young men in one of these provinces to be 
draughted, in order to be taken as soldiers: some were at that time 
in great distress, and had occasion to consider that their lives had 
been too little conformable to the purity and spirituality of that 
religion which we profess, and found themselves too little acquainted 
with that inward humility, in which true fortitude to endure hardness 
for the Truth's sake is experienced. Many parents were concerned 
for their children, and in that time of trial were led to consider, 
that their care to get outward treasure for them, had been greater 
than their care for their settlement in that religion which crucifieth 

VI 1759 225 

to the world, and enableth to bear a clear testimony to the peaceable 
government of the Messiah. These troubles are removed, and for a 
time we are released from them. 

Let us not forget that "the Most High hath his way in the deep, 
in clouds and in thick darkness" — that it is his voice which crieth to 
the city and to the country; and, Oh! that these loud and awakening 
cries, may have a proper effect upon us, that heavier chastisement 
may not become necessary ! For though things, as to the outward, 
may, for a short time, afford a pleasing prospect; yet while a selfish 
spirit that is not subject to the cross of Christ, continueth to spread 
and prevail, there can be no long continuance in outward peace and 
tranquillity. If we desire an inheritance incorruptible, and to be at 
rest in that state of peace and happiness which ever continues : 
if we desire in this life to dwell under the favour and protection of 
that Almighty Being, whose habitation is in holiness, whose ways 
are all equal, and whose anger is now kindled because of our back- 
slidings; let us then awfully regard these beginnings of his sore judg- 
ments, and with abasement and humiliation turn to Him whom we 
have offended. 

Contending with one equal in strength is an uneasy exercise : 
but if the Lord is become our enemy, if we persist to contend with 
Him who is omnipotent, our overthrow will be unavoidable. 

Do we feel an affectionate regard to posterity ; and are we em- 
ployed to promote their happiness ? Do our minds, in things out- 
ward, look beyond our own dissolution ; and are we contriving for 
the prosperity of our children after us? Let us then, like wise 
builders, lay the foundation deep; and by our constant uniform regaid 
to an inward piety and virtue, let them see that we really value it. 
Let us labour, in the fear of the Lord, that their innocent minds, 
while young and tender, may be preserved from corruptions ; that 
as they advance in age, they may rightly understand their true inter- 
est, may consider the uncertainty of temporal things, and above all, 
have their hope and confidence firmly settled in the blessing of that 
Almighty Being, who inhabits eternity, and preserves and supports 
the world. 

In all our cares about worldly treasures, let us steadily bear in 
mind, that riches possessed by children who do not truly serve God, 
are likely to prove snares, that may more grievously entangle them 
in that spirit of selfishness and exaltation, which stands in opposition 
to real peace and happiness; and renders them enemies to the cross 
of Christ, who submit to the influence of it. 

To keep a watchful eye towards real objects of charity, to visit 
the poor in their lonesome dwelling places, to comfort them who, 


through the dispensations of Divine Providence, are in strait and 
painful circumstances in this life, and steadily to endeavour to 
honour God with our substance, from a real sense of the love of 
Christ influencing- our minds thereto, is more likely to bring a bless- 
ing to our children, and will afford more satisfaction to a christian 
favoured with plenty, than an earnest desire to collect much wealth 
to leave behind us ; for "here we have no continuing city :" may we 
therefore diligently "seek one that is to come, whose builder and 
maker is God." 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things 
are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, 
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there 
be any praise, think on these things and do them, and the God of 
peace shall be with you." 

Signed by appointment, and on behalf of our said meeting, by 

MoRDECAi Yarnall,'" John Scarbrough, 

Thomas Massey, Peter Fearon, 

John Churchman, Thomas Evans, 

Joseph Parker. 

da mo 

^ [28th nth 1759, I was at the Quarterly meeting in Bucks 
county ; this day being the meeting of ministers and elders, my 
heart was enlarged in the love of Jesus Christ; and the favour 
of the Most High was extended to us in that and the ensuing 

I had conversation, at my lodging, with my beloved friend 
Samuel Eastburn ; ^^ who expressed a concern to join in a visit 
to some Friends in that County, who had Negroes ; and as I 
had felt a Draught in my mind to that work in the said county, 

da mo 
I came home and put things in order; on the 11 : 12: I went over 
the River ; and on the next day was at Buckingham meeting ; 
where, through the descendings of Heavenly dew, my mind was 
comforted and drawn into a near unity with the flock of Jesus 

Entering upon this visit appeared weighty : and before I left 

'MS. A omits the following paragraphs. MS. B, p. 179, is the only one 
which includes this visit to Bucks County, Pa. The first edition, 1774, retains 
it as given in B. showing that the Committee on Publication were using all three 
of the Manuscripts in their Editorial Work. 

VI 1759 227 

home my mind was often sad ; under which exercise I felt, at 
times, that Holy Spirit which helps our infirmities ; through which 
in private my prayers were at times put up to God that he would 
be pleased so to purge me from all Selfishness, so that I might 
be strengthened to discharge my duty Faithfully how hard soever 
to the natural part. We proceeded on the visit in a weighty frame 
of Spirit, and went to the Houses of the most active members 
throughout the county who had Negroes, and through the Grood- 
ness of the Lord, my mind was preserved in Resignation in times 
of tryal. And though the work was hard to nature, yet through 
the strength of that Love which is stronger that Death, tenderness 
of heart was often felt amongst us in our Visits, and we parted 
from several families with greater satisfaction than we expected. 

We visited Joseph Whites "^ Family, he being in England ; 
had also a family sitting at the house of an elder who bore us 
company and were at Makefield on a first-day. At all which times 
my heart was truly thankful to the Lord who was graciously 
pleased to renew his loving kindness to us his poor servants, 
uniting us together in his work.] 

^ In the winter [1759] the smallpox being in [and about] 
town and many being Inoculated, of which [some] died, Some 
things were opened in my mind, which I wrote as follows 

The more fully our lives are comformable to the will of God, 
the better it is for us. I have looked on the Smallpox as a 
Messenger sent from the Almighty, to be an Assistant in the Cause 
of Virtue, and to incite us to consider whether we Employ our 
time only in such things as are Consistent with Perfect Wisdom 
and goodness. 

Building houses sutable to dwell in, for ourselves and our 
Creatures, preparing Cloathing sutable to the Climate & Season, 
and food convenient, are all duties incumbent on us. And under 
these general heads are many branches of business in which we 
may venture health and life as necessity may require. This 
disease being in a house and my business calling me to go near 
it : It incites me to think whether this business is a real indispens- 
able duty, whether it is not in conformity to some Custom, which 
would be better laid aside, or whether it does not proceed from 
too Eager a pursuit of some outward treasure. If the business 

^ MS. A, p. 98, here resumes the narrative. 


before me springs not from a Clear understanding, and a regard 
to that use of things which [pure] WISDOM approves; to be 
brought to a sence of it and Stoped in my pursuit, is a kindness, 
for when I proceed to business without some evidence of Duty, I 
have found by experience that it tends to weakness. 

H I am so scituated that there appears no probability of 
missing the infection, it tends to make me think whether my 
maner of life in things outward, has nothing in it which may unfit 
my Body to receive this messenger in a way the most favourable 
to me. Do I use Food and Drink in no other Sort, and in no other 
degree, than was designed by Him who gave these Creatures for 
our Sustenance ? Do I never abuse my Body by inordinate Labour, 
Striving to Accomplish some end which I have unwisely pro- 
posed? Do I use action enough in some Useful Employ, or do I 
set too much idle, while some persons who labour to support mfe 
have too great a share of [Labour] If in any of these things I 
am deficient, to be incited to Consider it, is a favour to me. 

There is employ necessary in social life, & this [Mortal] in- 
fection incites me to think whether these Social acts of mine are 
real duties. If I go on a Visit to the widows and Fatherless, do 
I go purely on a principle of Charity, free from every selfish 
view. If I go to a Religious meeting, it [should] put me a thinking 
whether I go in sincerity and in a clear sence of duty, or whether 
it is not partly in conformity to Custom, or partly from a sensible 
delight which my animal Spirits feel in the Company of other 
people, and whether to Support my [reputation]^ as a Religious 
man, has no share in it. 

[Am I called upon to assist in] affairs relating to Civil society, 
as I hazard my health and life [in coming near this infection, 
it is fit for] me to think Seriously, whether love to Truth and 
Righteousness is the motive of my attending ; whether the manner 
of proceeding is altogether Equitable; or whether aught of nar- 
rowness, party interest, respect to outward dignities, names, or 
[Collours of] men, do not stain the beauty of those Assemblies, 
and render [the case] doubtfuU in point of duty, whether a 
Disciple of Christ ought to attend as a Member united to the 
Body or not. 

Whenever there are blemishes which for a Series of time re- 

> MS. B "Character." 

VI 1759 229 

main Such, that which is a means of Stiring us up to look atten- 
tively on these blemishes, and to Labour according to our Capaci- 
ties, to have [true] health and Soundness restored in our Country, 
we may justly account a kindness from our Gracious Father, who 
appointed that mean. 

The care of a wise and good man for his only Son, is inferior 
to the Regard of the great PARENT of the Universe for his 
creatures. [The jNIost High] hath the Coihand of all the powers 
and operations in nature, and doth not afflict unUingly, nor grieve 
the children of men. [Chastisement is intended for Instruction, 
and Instruction being received by gentle Chastisement, greater 
calamities are prevented.] 

By an Earthquake hundreds of houses are sometimes shaken 
down in a few minutes, and multitudes of people perish Sud- 
denly and many more being crushed and bruised in the Ruins of 
the buildings, pine away and die in great ^Misery. 

Bv the breaking in of Enraged, merciless armies, flourishing 
Countries have been laid waste and great numbers of people per- 
ished in a Short time and many more pressed with povert}- and 

By the Pestilence people have died so fast in a City, that 
through fear, grief, & Confusion. Those in health have found 
great difhcult}- in burying the dead, even without Coffins. 

By a famine great numbers of people in some places have been 
brought to the Utmost distress, and pined away for want of the 
necessaries of life. Thus where the kind Invitations and Gentle 
Chastisements of a Gracious God have not been attended to, his 
Sore Judgments have at times been poured out upon people. 

While some rules approv'd in Civil Societs-, & Conformable 
to human Policy so called are distinguishable from the purity 
of Truth and Righteousness, [it behoves us to meditate on the 
end to which those ways are leading.] While many professing 
the Truth are declineing from that ardent Love and Heavenly 
mindedness, which was amongst the primitive followers of Jesus 
Christ; [while I and thee as Individuals feel our-Selves Short 
of that Perfection in Virtue, which our Heavenly Father hath 
made possible for us. It is a time for Countries, Societies and In- 
dividuals] to attend diligently to the intent of Ever}' Chastisement, 
& Consider the most deep and inward design of them. 


The Most High doth not often speak with an outward voice to 
our outward Ears ; but if we humbly meditate on his perfections, 
Consider that He is perfect Wisdom & Goodness, and to Afflict his 
Creatures to no purpose would be utterly reverse to his Nature, 
we Shall hear & understand his language, both in his gentle and 
more heavy Chastisements, and take heed that we do not, in the 
wisdom of this world, endeavour to Escape his hand by means 
too powerful! for us [to apply to. J 

Had he Endowed men with understanding to hinder the force 
of this disease by innocent means, which had never proved rriortal 
nor hurtful to our bodies, Such discovery might be considered 
as the period of Chastisement by this distemper, where that knowl- 
edge Extended. But as life and health are his gifts, and not to 
be disposed of in our own wills, To take upon us, when in health 
a distemper of which some die, requires great Clearness of knowl- 
edge that it is our duty to do so. [Was no business done, no 
visits made nor any Assembling of people together but Such as 
were consistent with pure wisdom, nor No Inoculation, there would 
be a great alteration in the Operation of this disorder amongst 



Having, for some time past felt a Sympathy in my mind with 
Friends Eastward I opened my concern in our monthly meeting, 

da mo 
and obtaining a Certificate, set forward on the 17. 4. 1760, Joyn- 
ing in Company, by a previous agreement, with my beloved Friend 
Samuel Eastburn.-^ We had meetings at Woodbridge, Raugh- 
way,^ and Plainfield ; and were at their monthly meeting of Min- 
■ isters and Elders in Raughway. We laboured under some dis- 
couragements, but through the power of Truth, our visit was 
made reviving to the lowly-minded with whom I felt a near unity 
of Spirit, being much reduced in my own mind. We passed 
on & visited chief of the meetings on Long Island. It was my 
Concern from day to day to say no more nor less than what the 
spirit of Truth opened in me, being Jealouse over myself, lest I 
should Speak any thing to make my testimony look agreeable to 
that mind in people which is not in pure obedience to the Cross of 

The spring of the Ministry was often low, and thro' the Sub- 
jecting power of Truth we were kept low with it, and from place 
to place, such whose hearts were truly concerned for the cause of 
Christ, appeared to be comforted in our labours. And though it 
was in general a time of abasement of the Creature, yet through 
His Goodness who is a helper of the poor, we had some truly 
Edefying Seasons both in meetings and in families where we tar- 
ried and Sometimes found Strength to labour Earnestly with the 
unfaithfuU Especially with those whose Station in families, or in 
the Society was Such, that their Example had a powerfull ten- 
dency to Open the way for others to go aside from the purity and 
soundness of the blessed Truth. 

1 Rahway, New Jersey. 



At Jericho, on Long Island I wrote [a letter] home as fol- 
lows ^ 

da mo 
24. 4. 1760. 
Dearly Belovd Wife, — 

We are favoured with health, have been at Sundry meetings in 
East Jersey & on this Island. My mind hath been in an inward 
watchful! frame Since I left thee, greatly desiring that our proceed- 
ings may be Singly in the will of Our Heavenly Father. 

As the present appearance of things is not joyous, I have been 
much shut up from outward Chearfulness, remembering that promise, 
"Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord." As this from day 
to day has been revived in my memory, I have considered that his 
Internal presence on our minds is a delight of all others the most 
pure ; and that the honest hearted not only delight in this, but in 
the Effect of it upon them. He regards the helpless and distressed, 
and reveals his Love to His Children under AfHiction, they delight 
in beholding his Benevolence, & feeling Divine Charity moving upon 
them : Of this I may speak a little, for though since I left you, I 
have often found an Engaging love & Affection towards thee and my 
daughter, and Friends about home; that going out at this time, when 
Sickness is so great amongst you, is a tryal upon me ; yet I often 
remember there are many Widows and Fatherless, many who have 
poor Tutors, many who have evil Examples before them, and many 
whose minds are in Captivity, for whose sake my heart is at times 
moved with Compassion, that I feel my mind resigned to leave you 
for a Season, to exercise that Gift which the Lord hath bestowed on 
me, which though small compared with some, yet in this I rejoyce, 
that I feel love unfeigned toward my fellow-creatures. I recom- 
mend you to the Almighty, who I trust cares for you, and under a 
Sence of his Heavenly Love, remain thy Loving Husband, J. W. 

We Crossed from the East end of Long Island to New Lon- 
don, about thirty mile in a large open Boat. While we were out 
the wind riseing high, the waves several times beat over us, that 
to me it appeared dangerous, but my mind was at that time turned 
to Him who made and Governs the Deep, and my life was re- 
signed to him: and as he was Mercifully pleased to preserve us, I 

■ Original unlocated. John Woolman's host at Jericho, from whose house 

this letter was written, was probably Richard Willetts, son of Jacob and Mary 

(Jackson) Willetts. [J. Cox, Jr.] See other letters to his wife on this Journey 
in Introduction. 

VII 1760 233 

had fresh occasion to consider every Day as a Day lent to me, and 
felt a renewed Engagement to Devote my time and all I had to 
Him who gave it. We had five meetings in Narraganset and 
thence to Newport. Our Gracious Father presev'd us in a 
humble dependence on Him through deep exercises that were 
mortifying to the creaturely will. 

In several families in the Country where we lodged I felt an 
Engagement on my mind to have a Conferrence with them in pri- 
vate concerning their Slaves, and through Divine aid I was fa- 
voured to give up thereto. Though in this [case] I appear sin- 
gular from many, whose service in traveling I believe is greater 
than mine, I do not think hard of them for omiting it. I do not 
repine at having so unpleasant a task assigned me. But look with 
Aw fulness to Him who Appoints to his servants their respective 
Employments and is good to all who serve Him sincerely. 

We got to Newport in the Evening & had comfortable setings 
with them and in the afternoon attended the Burial of a Friend.^ 
The next day we were at meeting at Newport [the] forenoon and 
after, where the Spring of the Ministry was opened, and Strength 
given to declare the word of Life to the people. 

The next day we went on our Journey, but the great number 
of Slaves in these parts, and the Continuance of a Trade from 
there to Guinea, made deep impression on me, and my Cries were 
often put up to my Father in Secret, that he would enable me to 
discharge my duty Faithfully in such way as he might be pleased 
to point out to me. 

We took Swanzey, Free-town, and Tanton ^ in our way to 
Boston, where also we had a meeting. Our Exercise was deep, & 
the Love of Truth prevailed, for which I Bless the Lord. 

We went Eastward about Eighty miles beyond Boston ^ take- 
ing meetings and were in a good degree preserved in a Humble 
dependence on that arm which drew us out. And, though we had 
Some hard labour with the disobedient, laying things home & 
Close to such who were stout against the Truth, yet through the 
goodness of God we had at times to partake of Heavenly Comfort 
with them who were meek, and Often were favoured to part with 

^ Mary, the wife of Abram Redwood. 

' Taunton, Mass. 

' Probably to Dover, N. H. 


friends in the nearness of true gospel fellowship. We returned 
to Boston and had another comfortable oportunity with Friends 
there and thence rode a days Journey Westward to Bolton. Our 
pilot being a heavy man, and the weather hot, and my Companion 
& I considering it, Expresst our freedom to go on without him, 
to which he consented, & so we Respectfully took our leave of 
him: this we did as believing the Journey would have [went] 
hard with him and his horse. 

We visited the meetings in those parts & were measurably 
Baptized into a feeling of the State of the Society, and in Bowed- 
ness of Spirit went to the Yearly Meeting at Newport, where I 
understood that a large number of Slaves were imported from 
Africa & then on Sale by a member of our Society. At this 
meeting we met with John Storer ^- from England, Eliz. Ship- 
ley,-" Hanah Foster," Ann Gauntt,^"^ and Mercy Redman,^"* from 
our parts, all ministers of the Gospel, of whose Company I was 

At this time I had a feeling of the condition of Habakkuk, as 
thus expresst : ^ "When I heard, my Belly trembled, my lips 
quivered, [my appetite failed and I grew outwardly weak,] and 
I trembled in myself that I might rest in the day of trouble." ^ 
I had many cogitations, and was sorely distresst I was desirous 
that Friends might petition the Legislators to Use their En- 
deavours to discourage the future Importation of them For I 
saw that this trade was a great Evil, and tended to multiply trou- 
bles, and bring distresses on the people in those parts, for whose 
wellfare my heart was deeply Concerned, but I perceived Several 
difficulties in regard to petitioning, and Such was the Exercise of 
mind, that I had thoughts of Endeavouring to get an Oportunity 
to Speak a few words in the House of Assembly, [they being 
then] seting in the Town. This Exercise came upon me in the 

* Hab. iii. i6. Incorrectly quoted, from memory. 

•The Yearly Meeting records for 6 mo. 12, 1760 have the following Minute — 
"This Meeting Being favoured with the Company of the following Ministering 
Friends produced Certificates from their Respective Monthly Meetings, viz: One 
from Buckingham in Pennsylvania Dated y^' 7 of y** 4 mo. 1760 for Samuel 
Eastburn; one for John Woolman from y*^ Monthly Meeting held at Burlington 
Dated y" 7 of y" 4 mo. 1760." Other Certificates read were for Elizabeth Shipley, 
of Wilmington, Del., dated 14, 3 mo., Hannah Foster, Haddonfield, N. J., dated 
iz, 5 mo., Ann Gaunt, Little Egg Harbour, N. J., dated 10 4 mo., Mercy Redman, 
Haddonheld, N. J., dated 14, 4 mo. [Records, New England Yearly Meeting — 
Vol. I, p. 248.] 

VII 1760 235 

afternoon on the second day of the Yearly Meeting, and going to 
bed, I got no Sleep till my mind was wholly resigned therein, and 
in the Morning I inquired of a Friend how long the Assembly 
were likely to Continue seting, who told me they were Expected 
to be prorogued that day or the next. As I was desirous to attend 
the Business of the Meeting, and perceived the Assembly was 
likely to depart before the Business was over, after considerable 
Exercise, seeking to the Lord for Instruction my mind Setled to 
attend on the Business of the Meeting, on the last day of which I 
had prepared a Short Essay of a petition to be presented to the 
Legislator if way opened for it : and being informed that there 
were some appointed by that Yearly IVIeeting to Speak with [men] 
in authority, in Cases Relating to the Society, I opened my 
[Feeling] to Several of them and Showed them the Essay I had 
made, and afterward opened the Case in the Meeting for business 
in Substance as follows 

"I have been under a Concern for some time, on account of the 
great number of Slaves which are Imported into this colony. I am 
aware that it is a tender point to speak to, but apprehend I am not 
clear in the Sight of Heaven without speaking to it. I have pre- 
pared an Essay of a petition, [propos'd] if way open, to be presented 
to the Legislature, and what I have to propose to this meeting is, 
that Some friends may be named to [walk aside] and look over it, 
and report whether they believe it sutable to be read in [this] meet- 
ing. If they think well of reading it, It will remain for the meeting, 
after hearing it, to Consider whither to take any further notice of it 
as a meeting or not." 

After a short Conferrence, some Friends went out, and [af- 
ter] looking over it expresst their willingness to have it read, 
which being done, many Expresst their Unity with the proposal, 
and some Signified that to have the Subject of the petition En- 
larged upon, and to be Signed out of meeting by such who were 
free, would be more Sutable than to do it there. Though I Ex- 
pected at first that if it was done, it would be in that way, yet, 
such was the Exercise of my mind that to move it in the hearing 
of Friends when Assembled appeared to me as a duty, for my 
heart yearned toward the Inhabitants of these parts, believing that 
by this trade there had been an increase of Unquietness amongst 


them, and way made Easie for the Spreading of a Spirit Opo- 
site to that Meekness and Humility, which is a Sure Resting 
place for the Soul: And that the Continuance of this trade would 
not only render their healing more difficult, but increase their 
malady. Having thus far proceeded, I felt easie to leave the Essay 
amongst Friends, for them to proceed in it as they believ'd best. 

And now an Exercise revived on my mind in relation to lot- 
teries which were common in those parts. 

I had once moved it in a former seting of this meeting, when 
Arguments were Used in favour of Friends being held Excused 
who were only Concerned in such Lotteries as were agreeable to 
Law, and now on moving it again, it was oposed as before, but 
the hearts of Some Solid Friends appeared to be united to dis- 
courage the practice amongst their Members, and the matter was 
Zealously handled by Some on both sides. In this debate it ap- 
peared very clear to me that the Spirit of Lotteries was a Spirit 
of Selfishness which tended to Confusion and darkness of under- 
standing, and that pleading for it in our meetings set apart for 
the Lords work, was not right. And in the heat of zeal I once 
made reply to what an Antient Friend ^ said, which, when I Sat 
down I Saw that my words were not Enough Seasoned with 
Charity, and after this I Spake no more on the Subject. At 
length a minute was made, a copy of which was agreed to be 
sent to their Several Quarterly Meetings, Inciting Friends to 
Labour to discourage the practice amongst all professing with 
us. Some time after this minute was made, I remaining uneasy 
with the manner of my Speaking to [an] Antient Friend, could 
not see my way clear to Conceal my Uneasiness, but was con- 
cern'd that I might say nothing to weaken the Cause in which I 
had laboured : And then after some Repentance for that I had not 
attended closely to the Safe guide, I stood up & reciting the pas- 
sage, acquainted Friends, that though I dare not go from "what 
I had said as to the matter, yet I was uneasie with the manner 
of my Speaking, as believing milder language would have been 
better. As this was uttered in Some degree of Creaturely abasem', 
it appeared to have a good Savor amongst us after a warm de- 

The Yearly Meeting being now over, there yet remained on 

* Probably John Casey. Biog. Note 105. 

VII 1760 237 

my mind a Secret though heavy Exercise, in regard to Some lead- 
ing Active members about Nevi^port, being in the practice of 
Slave keeping. This I mentioned to two Antient Friends who 
came out of the country, and proposed to them if way opened to 
have some conversation with those Friends. And thereupon one 
of those Country Friends and I consulted one of the most noted 
Elders who had [them] ; and he in a respectfuU maner En- 
couraged me to proceed to clear mySelf of what lay upon me. 
Now I had near the beginning of the Yearly Meeting, a private 
conferrence with this said Elder and his wife, concerning theirs ; 
so that the way seemed clear to me to advise with him about 
the [way] of proceeding. I told him, I was free to have a con- 
ferrence with them [all] together in a private house, or, if he 
[believed] they would take it unkind to be asked to come to- 
gether, and to be spoke with, one in the hearing of another, I was 
free to Spend Some time amongst them, and Visit them all in 
their own Houses. He expresst his liking to the first proposal, 
not doubting their willingness to come together. And as I pro- 
posed a Visit to only Ministers, Elder & Overseers, he named 
Some others whom he desired might be present allso. and as a 
Carefull Messenger was wanted to Acquaint them in a proper 
manner, he offered to go to all their houses to open the matter to 
them, and did so. [That] about the Eighth hour the next morn- 
ing, we met in the meeting house Chamber, And the last-men- 
tioned Country Friend, also my Companion,^ and John Storer ^^ 
with us When after a short time of retirement, I acquainted them 
with the Steps I had taken in procureing that meeting, and 
Opened the Concern I was under, and so we proceeded to a free 
Conferrence upon the subject. My Exercise was heavy, and I 
wasMeeply bowed in Spirit before the Lord, who was pleased to 
favour with the Seasoning Virtue of Truth which wrought a 
tenderness amongst us; and the subject was mutually handled in 
a Calm and peaceable Spirit. And at length, feeling my mind 
released from that burthen which I had been under, I took my 
leave of them, in a good degree of Satisfaction, and by the 
tenderness they manifested in regard to the practice and the 
Concern several of them Expresst in relation to disposing of their 
negroes after their decease, I believed that a good Exercise was 

^ Samuel Eastburn (26). 


spreading [in the minds of Friends] and I am humbly Thankfull 
to GOD who supported my Soul and preserved me in a good 
degree of Resignation through these tryals. 

Thou who sometimes Travels in the work of the ministry, 
and art made very wellcome by thy friends, Seest many tokens 
of their Satisfaction in having thee for their guest. It is good 
for thee to dwell deep, that thou mayest feel and understand 
the Spirits of people. If we believe Truth points towards a Con- 
ference on Some Subjects, in a private way, it is needfull for us 
to take heed that their kindness, their freedom & Affability, do 
not hinder us from the Lord's work. I have Seen that in the 
midst of kindness and Smoothe conduct, to speak close and home 
to them who entertain us, on points that relate to their outward 
Interest, is hard Labour and some times when I have felt Truth 
lead toward it, I have found myself disqualified by a Superficial 
friendship, and as the sense thereof hath abased me, and my 
Cries have been to the Lord, so I have been humbled and made 
Content to appear weak, or as a fool for his Sake, and thus a 
door hath opened to Enter upon it. 

To attempt to do the Lords work in our own will, and to 
Speak of that which is the Burthen of the word, in a way Easie 
to the natural part, does not reach the bottom of the disorder. 
To see the failings of our friends, and think hard of them, without 
opening that which we ought to open, and still carry a face of 
friendship, this tends to undermine the foundation of true Unity. 

The Office of a Minister of Christ is weighty, and they who 
now go forth as watchmen, have need to be Steadily on their 
guard against the Snares of prosperity and an outside friendship.'^ 

After the Yearly Meeting was over, we were at meetings at 
Newtown, Cushnet,^ Long Plain, Rochester and Dartmoth, and 
from thence we sailed for Nantucket, in Company with Ann 
Gauntt ^'^ and Mercy Redman,^"* and Several other Friends. The 
wind being Slack, we only Reached Tarpaulian Cove ^ the first 
day, where going on shore we found house room in a Public 
house, and Beds for a few of us, the rest Sleeping on the floor. 
We went on board again about break of day; and though the 

* Compare remarks "Concerning the Ministry," written in England. 
' Acushnet near New Bedford, Mass. 

' Tarpaulin Cove, Island of Naushon, one of the Elizabeth Islands, in Vineyard 
Sound, Massachusetts. 

VII 1760 239 

wind was Small, we were favoured to come within about four 
miles of Nantucket, and then about ten of us geting into our 
Boat, we rowed to the harbour before Dark: whereupon a large 
Whale-boat going of, brought in the rest of the passengers about 
midnight. The next day but one was their Yearly Meeting, which 
held four days, [on] the last of which, was [allso] their monthly 
meeting of Business. We had a laborious time amongst them, 
our minds were closely exercised, and I believe it was a time 
of great Searching of heart. The longer I was on the Island 
the more I became sensible that there was a considerable num- 
ber of Valuable Friends there, though an evil spirit tending to 
strife, had been at work amongst them. I was cautious of mak- 
ing any Visits but as my mind was particularly drawn to them, 
& in that way we had Some setings in Friends Houses, where 
the Heavenly Wing was at times spread over us, to our mutual 
comfort. My Beloved Companion ^ had verry Acceptable Ser- 
vice on this Island. 

When meeting was over, we all agreed to Sail the next day 
if the weather was sutable & wee well and being Called up the 
latter part of the night, we went on Board being in all about fifty, 
but the wind changing, the Seamen thought best to Stay in the 
harbour till it altered [again] so we [went] on Shore, and I 
feeling clear as to any further visits. Spent my time in our 
Chamber chiefly alone, and after some hours, my heart being filled 
with the Spirit of Supplication, my prayers & Tears were poured 
out before my Heavenly Father, for his help and Instruction in 
the manifold difficulties which Attended me in life, [and] while 
I was waiting upon the Lord, there came a Messenger from the 
Women Friends who lodged at another House, desiring to con- 
fer with us about appointing a Meeting, which to me appeared 
weighty, as we had been at so many before, but after a short 
Conference, and advising with some Elderly Friends a meeting 
was appointed, in which the Friend who first moved it, and who 
had been much Shut up before, was largely Opened in the Love 
of the Gospel. And [then, going on board y" next morning 
about Break of Day] we reached Falmouth on the Main before 
Night; where our horses being brought, we proceeded toward 
Sandwich Quarterly meeting. 

> Samuel Eastburn." 


Being two days going to Nantucket, and having been once 
before, I Observed many Shoals in their Bay, which makes 
Sailing more dangerous. Especially in Stormy nights; [I ob- 
served] allso a great shoal which Encloseth their Harbour, & 
prevents their going in with Sloops, Except when the tide is up. 
Waiting without this Shoal for the Rising of the Tide is some- 
times hazardous in Storms, And waiting within, they sometimes 
Miss a Fair wind. I took notice that on that small Island are a 
great number of Inhabitants, and the Soyl not verry fertile. The 
Timber so gone that for Vessels, Fences & Firewood, they 
depend Chiefly on buying from the Main. The cost whereof, with 
most of their other Expenses, they depend principally upon the 
whale fishery to Answer. I considered that if towns grew larger, 
and Lands near navigable waters more cleared, Timber and wood 
would require more labour to get it. I understood that the Whales 
being much hunted, and sometimes wounded and not Killed, grew 
more Shy and difficult to come at. 

I Considered that the Formation of the Earth, the Seas, the 
Islands, Bays and Rivers, The Motions of the Winds and Great 
Waters, which Cause Bars and Shoals in particular places, were 
all the Works of Him who is Perfect Wisdom and goodness ; 
and as people attend to his Heavenly Instructions, and put their 
Trust in him, he provides for them in all parts where he gives 
them a being. And as in this Visit to these people, I felt a 
Strong desire for their firm Establishment on the sure Founda- 
tion ; besides what was said more publicly, I was concerned to 
.Speak with the Women Friends, in their monthly meeting of 
business, many being present ; and in the fresh spring of pure 
Love, to Open before them the Advantage, both inward and out- 
ward, of Attending Singly to the pure guidance of the Holy Spirit, 
and therein to Educate their Children in true Humility, and the 
disuse of all Superfluities. Reminding them of the Difficulties 
their Husbands and Sons were frequently Exposed to at Sea, 
and that the more plain and simple their way of living was, the 
less need of Runing great Hazards to Support them in it; 
Encouraging the young Women in their neat, decent way of at- 
tending themselves on the Affairs of the house. Showing as the 
way opened, that where people were truly Humble, Used them- 
selves to business & were content with a plain way of life, That 

VII 1760 241 

it had ever been attended with more True peace and cahnness 
of mind, than those have had, who, Aspiring to greatness and 
outward Shew, have grasped hard for an Income to Support 
themselves in it. And as I observed they had few or no Slaves 
amongst them, I had to Encourage them to be Content without 
them. ]\Iakeing mention of the numerous troubles & Vexations, 
which frequently attend the minds of people who depend on 
Slaves to do their labour. 

We attended the Quarterly Meeting at Sandwich,'^ in Com- 
pany with Ann Gauntt ^^ and Mercy Redman,^"* which was pre- 
ceded by a monthly meeting, and in the whole held three days. 
We were Various Ways Exercised amongst them in Gospel Love, 
According to the Several Gifts bestowed on us and were at 
times Overshadowed with the Divine Virtue of Truth, to the 
Comfort of the Sincere, and Stiring up of the Negligent. Here 
we parted with Ann and Mercy, and went to Rhoad Island taking 
one meeting in our way which was a Satisfactory time; and 
reaching Newport the Evening before their Quarterly Meeting 
we Attended it, and after that had a Meeting with our Young 
people, Separated from other societies. We [had] went through 
much Labour in this Town and now in taking leave of it, though 
I felt close inward Exercise to the last, I found inward peace, 
and was in some degree comforted in a Belief that a good Number 
remain in that place who retain a Sence of Truth. And that 
there are some young people Attentive to the voice of the 
Heavenly Shepherd. The last meeting in which Friends from 
the Several parts of the Quarter came together was a Select meet- 
ing, and through the renewed manifestations of our Fathers 
Love The Hearts of the sincere were united together. 

That poverty of Spirit which [so much Attended me] the 
fore part of this journey, has of late appeared to me as a dis- 

* The men received the following attention, in a Minute 31 of 3 mo. 1760, 
recorded at Sandwich; "Our beloved Friends, John Woolraan & Samuel Eastburn, 
being at this meeting on a religious visit, produced certificates, the former from 
Burlington, dated 4 mo. 1760, and the latter from Buckingham in Pennsylvania, 
4 mo. 1760, both of which were read at this Meeting to satisfaction." [Records, 
Sandwich Quarterly Meeting, Vol. I, p. 56.] "Our friends John Storer from 
England, Samuel Eastburn from Pennsylvania, John Woolman from the Jerseys, 
Ann Gaunt & Mercy Redman from West Jersey, Being all on a Religious Visit 
to these parts, Certificates being prepared for them, & read in this Meeting, were 
agreed to & signed. . . . John Woolman's directed to Burlington in West Jersey." 
[Records Newport Quarterly Meeting, 11 of 7 mo. 1760.] 


pensation of kindness. Appointing meetings never felt more 
weighty to me, and I was led into a deep search, whither in all 
cases my mind was resigned to the will of God, often quearying 
with myself, what should be the cause of Such inward poverty 
[and weakness] greatly desiring that no secret reserve in my 
heart might hinder my access to the Divine fountain. In these 
humbling times I was made watchful and attentive to the deep 
movings of the [Spirit of Truth] on my heart and here some 
duties were opened to me [which in times of fulness] I believe 
I should have been in danger of omiting. 

[Departing] from Newport, we [were at three Meetings on 
our way toward Connecticut through which we traveled] ^ and 
were helped to labour amongst Friends in the love of our gra- 
cious Redeemer: and then, accompanied by our friend John 
Casey ^"^ from Newport, we rode through Connecticut [and to 
Oblong, and visiting the meetings of Friends there, proceeded to 
the Quarterly meeting at Rie woods : ^ and through the gracious 
extendings of Divine help, had some seasoning [times] in those 
places. We then visited Friends at York ^ and Flushing, and 
Raughway * [and] here I [parted with] my beloved [friend] 

da mo 
and true yoke mate Samuel Eastburn,^" and reached home lo. 8. 
1760, where I found my family well, and for the favours and 
protection of the Lord, both inward & outward, in this little Jour- 
ney, my heart is humbled in grateful acknowledgments, and feel 
a renewed engagement [that I may] dwell in resignedness to him. 

* Greenwich, Shanticut and Warwick. 
= Rye. 

« New York. 

* Railway, New Jersey. 

1 761 

Having felt my mind drawn toward a Visit to a few meet- 
ings in Pennsylvania, I was very desirous to be instructed Rightly 

da mo 
as to the time of seting of, and on the 10. 5. 1761, being the 
first day of the week I went to Haddonfield Meeting. Concluding 
[in my mind] to Seek for heavenly instruction, and come home 
or go on as I might then believe best for me; and there through 
the Springing up of pure love I felt encouragement and so 
crossed the River. In this visit I was at two Quarterly and three 
monthly meetings, and in the love of Truth, felt my way open 
to Labour with some noted Friends who kept Negroes, and as 
I was favoured to keep the Root, and Endeavoured to discharge 
what I believed was Required of me, I found inward peace therein 
from time to time, and thankfulness of heart to the Lord, who 
was graciously pleased to guide me. 

In the 8. 1761, having felt drawings in my mind to Visit 
Friends in and about Shrewsbury I went there & was at their first- 
day meeting and their monthly meeting and had a meeting at 
Squan ^ and another at Squankum, and as way opened I had Con- 
versation with some noted Friends in the fear of the Lord con- 
cerning their slaves, and returned home in a thankful sense of 
the Goodness of God. 

From a care I felt growing in me some years, I wrote Con- 
siderations on keeping Negroes, part second, which was printed 
this year, 1762.^ When the overseers of the press had done with 
it, they offered to get a number printed to be p'' for out of the 
Yearly Meeting stock, & to be given away but I being most 

^ Manasquan, 

* This second part of J. Woolman's pamphlet, "Considerations on the Keeping of 
Negroes," was printed by Benjamin Franklin. 



easie to publish them at my own Expense, & offering my reasons 
they appeared Satisfied. 

This Stock is the Contribution of the Members of our religious 
society in general, amongst whom are many who keep Negroes, 
& some of them being resolved to continue them in Slavery are 
not likely to be satisfied with those books being spread amongst 
a people where many of the Slaves are [learnd] to read & Espe- 
cially not at their Expense ; & Such often receiving them as a gift 
conceal them. But as they who make a purchase buy that which 
they have a mind for, I [was easie] to sell them, Expecting by 
that means they would more generaly be read with Attention. 
Advertisements being Signed by order of the overseers of the 
press, directed to be read in monthly meetings of business within 
our Yearly Meeting, informing where the Books were, & that the 
price was no more than the cost of printing and binding them. 
Many were taken of in our parts, some I sent to York,^ and to 
Newport, to my acquaintance there, & some I kept by me Ex- 
pecting to give part of them away where there appear 'd a pros- 
pect of doing it to advantage. 

In my youth I was used to hard Labour, and though I was 
midling healthy, yet my Nature was not fited to endure so much 
as many others, that being often weary [with it], I was prepared 
to Sympathize with those whose circumstance in life as free men, 
required constant labour to answer the demands of their creditors, 
and with others under Oppression. In the uneasiness of body, 
which 1 have many times felt by too much labour, not as a forced 
but a voluntary opression, I have often been Excited to think on 
the original cause of that Opression which is imposed on many 
in the world. And the latter part of the time wherein I laboured 
on the plantation, my heart, through the fresh Visitations of 
Heavenly Love being often tender, and my leisure time frequently 
spent in reading the Life and doctrines of our Blessed Redeemer, 
the Account of the Sufferings of Martyrs, and the history of the 
first rise of our Society, A behef was gradually setled in my 
mind. That if such who had great Estates generally lived in that 
Humility and plainness which belonged to a Christian life, and laid 
much Easier Rents and Interests on their lands & moneys, and 

' New York. 

VIII 1 761 245 

so led the way to a right Use of things, so great a number of peo- 
ple might be employed in things Usefull that Labour both for men 
and other Creatures would Need to be no more than an agree- 
able Employ. And divers branches of business, which serve 
chiefly to please the Natural Inclinations of our minds, and which 
at present, seems necessary to circulate that wealth which some 
gather might in this way of pure Wisdom be discontinued. And 
as I have thus Considered these things, a query at times hath 
arisen, do I in all my proceedings keep to that Use of things which 
is agreeable to Universal Righteousness and then there hath some 
degree of Sadness at times come over me, for that I accustomed 
myself to some things which Ocasioned more labour than I believe 
Divine Wisdom intended for us. 

From my early acquaintance with Truth I have often felt an 
inward distress occasioned by the Striving of a Spirit in me 
against the operation of the Heavenly principle and in this cir- 
cumstance have been affected with a sense of my own Wretched- 
ness, and in a mourning condition felt earnest longing for that 
Divine help which brings the Soul into true Liberty. Retireing 
into private places, the Spirit of Supplication hath been given 
me and under a Heavenly Covering have asked my Gracious 
Father to give me a heart in all things resigned to the direction 
of his Wisdom, & in Uttering language like this, the thoughts of 
my wearing hats & garments died with a die injurious to them, 
has made lasting impressions on me. 

^ [In visiting people of note in the Society who had Slaves, and 
Labouring with them in Brotherly Love on that account, I have 
seen and the sight has affected me that a Conformity to some cus- 
toms distinguishable from Pure Wisdom has entangled many, and 
the desire of gain to support those Customs greatly Opposed the 
work of Truth.] And sometimes when the prospect of the work 
before me has been Such that in bowedness of Spirit I have been 
drawn into retired places and besought the Lord with tears that 
he would take me wholly under his direction and show me the 
way in which I ought to walk it hath revived with strength of 
conviction that if I would be his Faithfull servant I must in 
all things attend to his wisdom, and be teachable, and so cease 

^ This paragraph is added on a loose paper, MS. A, pasted in by John Woolman, 
having been omitted in copying from B. 


from all customs contrary thereto, however used amongst Re- 
ligious people. 

As He is the perfection of Power of Wisdom and of Good- 
ness so I believe He hath provided that so much labour shall be 
necessary for mens Support in this world as would, being rightly 
divided, be a Sutable Employment of their time, and that we 
cannot go into Superfluities, nor grasp after wealth in a way con- 
trary to his wisdom without having connection with some degree 
of Oppression, and with tliat Spirit which leads to Self exalta- 
tion and strife, & which frequently brings Calamities on Countries 
by parties contending about their claims. Being thus fully con- 
vinced & feeling an increasing desire to live in the Spirit of peace ; 
Being often Sorrowfully affected in thinking on the unquiet Spirit 
in which wars are generally carried on & with the miseries of 
many of my fellow-creatures engaged therein. Some suddenly 
destroyed. Some wounded and after much pain remain crippled. 
Some deprived of all their outward Substance & reduced to 
want, & Some carried into captivity, thinking often on these 
things the use of hats & garments died with a die hurtfitll to 
them, & wearing more cloaths in summer than are usefull grew 
more uneasie to me, believing y"" to be customs which have not 
their foundation in pure Wisdom. The apprehension of being 
Singular from my Beloved Friends was a strait upon me, and thus 
I remained in the Use of Some things contrary to my Judgment, 
da mo 

And on the 31. 5. 1761 I was taken ill of a fever, ^ and after 
having it near a week, I was in great distress of Body, and one 
day there was a Cry raised in me that I might understand the 
cause why I was afflicted and improve under it, and my con- 
formity to some customs which I believed were not right were 
brought to my remembrance, & in the Continuation of the Exercise 
I felt all the powers in me yield themselves up into the hands of 
Him who gave me being, and was made thankfull that he had 
taken hold of me by his Chastisement, feeling the Necessity of 

* From reference to delicate health and several fevers in autumn and spring, 
together with William Tuke's letter to Reuben Haines referring to the "feverish 
disorder he usually had at that season of the year" ("9 mo.") one gets the impression 
that the "fever and ague" of the early settlers on the marshy lands in New Jersey, 
had taken hold of the frail constitution of John Woolman, whose mode of life and 
diet were not suited to combat it. 

VIII 1 761 247 

further purifying. There was now no desire in me for Health, 
untill the design of my Correction was answered, and thus I lay 
in abasement and brokenness of Spirit. And as I felt a sinking 
down into a calm Resignation, so I felt as in an Instant, an in- 
ward healing in my Nature and from that time forward I grew 

Though I was thus Setled in my mind in relation to hurtfull 
dies, I felt easie to wear my garments heretofore made, and so 
continued about nine months. Then I thought of geting a hat 
the natural cQlQi:r of _ the^ f ur, but the Apprehension of being 
looked upon as one Affecting Singularity, felt uneasie to me, and 
here I had occasion to consider that things though small in them- 
selves being clearly enjoined by Divine Authority as a duty, 
became great things to us, and I Trusted that the Lord would 
Support me in the tryals that might attend Singularity. While 
that singularity was only for his sake, on this account I was 
under close exercise of mind in the time of our General Spring 
Meeting, 1762, greatly desiring to be rightly directed, [and at a 
time when one of my Dear -Brethren was concerned in Humble 
Supplication, I] being then deeply bowed in Spirit before the Lord, 
was made willing [in case I got Safe home,] to speak for a Hat 
of the natural colour of the fur, [and did so]. 

In attending [publick] meetings this singularity was a tryal 
upon me, and more Especially at this time,"^ as being in use amongst 
some who were fond of following the Changible modes of dress, 
and as some Friends who knew not on what motive I wore it, 
carried Shy of me, I felt my way for a time shut up in the Minis- 
try, and in this condition my mind being turned toward my 
Heavenly Father, with fervent cries that I might be preserved to 
walk before Him in the meekness of wisdom, my heart was often 
tender in meetings, and I felt an inward Consolation which to 
me was very precious under those difficulties. 

I had several dyed garments fit for use, which I believed it 
best to wear till I had ocasion of new ones, and some Friends 
were apprehensive that my wearing such a hat Savored of an 
Affected Singularity. Such who spake with me in a Friendly way 
I generally informed in a few words, that I believ'd my wearing 
it was not in my own will. I had at times been Sensible that a 

^ MS. B has a note in a later hand, "white hats." These were then the mode. 


superficial friendship had been dangerous to me, and many Friends 
now being uneasy with me, [I found to be a providential Kindness, 
and though] I had an Inclination to acquaint some [valuable 
Friends] with the manner of my being led into these things, yet 
upon a deeper thought, I was for a time most easy to omit it, be- 
lieving the present dispensation was profitable, and Trusting that 
if I kept my place the Lord in his own time would open the hearts 
of Friends toward me. Since which I have had [ocasion] to ad- 
mire his goodness and loving kindness, in leading about & in- 
structing and opening and Enlarging my heart in some of our 


II. 1762 feeling an Engagement of mind to visit Some fami- 
lies in Mansfield I joyned my Beloved Friend Benjamin Jones'" 

and we spent a few days together in that Service. And in the 2. 
1763, I joyned in company with Elizabeth Smith ^^ and Mary 
Noble ^""^ [from Burlington] on a Vistit to the families of Friends 
at Ancocas in both which visits Through the Baptizing power of 
Truth, and the hearts of Friends opened to receive us, the sin- 
cere labourers were often comforted, and in the [fourth] month 
following I [bore] some Friends [company] on a visit to the 
families of Friends in Mountholly in which [Visit] my mind was 
drawn into an inward awfullness, wherein Strong desires were 
raised for the Everlasting wellfare of my fellow-creatures, and 
through the kindness of our Heavenly Father, our hearts were at 
times enlarged, & Friends invited in the flowings of Divine Love 
to Attend to that which would Settle them on the Sure founda- 

Having many years felt Love in my heart towards the Na- 
tives of this Land, who dwell far back in the Wilderness, whose 
Ancestors were the owners and possessors of the [Country] where 
we dwell, and who for a very small consideration Assigned their 

Inheritance to us, And being at Philadelphia in the 8. 1761 on a 
visit to some Friends who had Slaves, I fell in company with 

' This date — 1762 — marks the period when John Woolman adopted undyed cloth- 
ing, which he wore only during the last ten years of his life. 
-MS. B. Note in margin — "3^<1 part, containing 118 pages." 

VIII 1763 249 

Some of those Natives who lived on the East Branch of 
the River Susquehannah at an Indian Town called Wehalosing ' 
[about 200] miles from Philad, & in Conversation with them by 
an Interpreter, as allso by observations on their Countenances and 
Conduct I believed some of them were measurably Acquainted 
with that Divine power which Subjects the rough and froward 
will of the Creature. And at times I .felt inward drawings to- 
ward a Visit to that place of which I told none, (Except my Dear 
Wife,) until it came to Some ripeness, and then in the winter 
1762, I laid it before Friends at our monthly and Quarterly and 
[then] at our General Spring meeting. And having the Unity 
of Friends and being thoughtfull about an Indian pilot, there came 
a man and 3 women from a little beyond that Town to Philad 
on business, and I being [Acquainted] thereof by letter met them 

in Town in the 5. 1763; and after some Conversation finding 
they were Sober people I, by the Concurrence of Friends in that 
place agreed to joyn with them as Companions on their return, and 

da mo 
the 7. 6. following, [was] appointed for us to meet at Samuel 
Foulkes,** at Richland.^ Now as this Visit felt very weighty, and 
was performed at a time when Traveling appeared perilous. So 
the Dispensation of Divine Providence in preparing my mind for 
it have been Memorable ; and I believe it good for me to give 
some hints thereof. 

After I had given up to go the thoughts of the Journey were 
often attended with unusual Sadness, in which times my heart 
was frequently turned to the Lord with inward Breathings for 
His Heavenly Support, that I might not fail [of] following Him 
wheresoever He might lead me. And being at our Youths meet- 
ing at Chesterfield about a week before the time I Expected to 
Set of, was there led to speak on that prayer of our Redeemer to 
His Father: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of 
the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil." And 
in attending to the pure openings of Truth, had to mention what 
he elsewhere said to His Father, "I know that thou hearest me 
at all times." So that, as some of his followers kept their 

1 Wyalusing — 1922. 

2 Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 


places, and as his prayer was granted, it followed necessarily 
that they were kept from evil. And as Some of [those] met with 
great hardships and Afflictions in this world, and at last Suffered 
death by Cruel men, It appears that whatsoever befalls men 
while they live in pure Obedience to God, as it certainly works 
for good, so it may not be considered an evil as it relates to 
them. As I Spake on this Subject my heart was much tendered, 
and great awfullness came over me. And then on the first day 
of the next week being at our own afternoon meeting, and my 
heart being Enlarged in Love I was lead to Speak on the Care 
& protection of the Lord over his people, & to make mention of 
that passage where a Band of Assyrians Endeavouring to take 
Captive the Prophet, were disappointed ; and how the Psalmist 
said [that] the angel of the Lord Encampeth round about them 
that fear him ; And Thus, in True Love and tenderness I parted 
from Friends, E.xpecting the ne.xt morning to proceed on my 
Journey, and being weary [I] went early to Bed. [And] after I 
had been asleep a .Short time, I was awaked by a man calling at 
[our] door; and arising was invited to [go and] meet some 
Friends at a publick house in our Town who came from Philad'' 
so late that Friends were generally gone to Bed. These Friends 
informed me that an Express arrived the last morning from [the 
Fort called] Pittsburg, and brought news that The Indians had 
taken a Fort from the English westward and Slain and Scalped 
English people in divers places, Some near the said Pittsburg, 
and that some Elderly Friends in Philad'', knowing the time 
of my Expecting to set of, had confered together, and thought good 
to inform me of these things before I left home, that I might 
consider them, & proceed as I believed best : So I going again to bed 
told not my wife till morning. My heart was turned to the Lord 
for his Heavenly instruction, and it was a humbleing time to me. 
When I told my Dear Wife, she appeared to be deeply concerned 
about it, but in a few hours time my mind became Setled in a 
Belief that it was my duty to proceed on my Journey, and she bore 
it with a good degree of Resignation. In this conflict of Spirit 
there were great Searchings of Heart, and Sti^ong cries to the 
Lord, that no motion might be in the least degree attended to, but 
that of the pure Spirit of Truth. The subjects before mentioned, 
on which I had so lately Spoke in publick were now very fresh 

VIII 1763 251 

before me ; and I was brought inwardly to Commit myself to 
the Lord, to be disposed of as he Saw good. 

So I took leave of my Family and Neighbours in much bow- 
edness of Spirit, and went to our monthly meeting at Burlington, 
and after taking leave of Friends there, I crossed the River,^ Ac- 
companied by my friends Israel " and John Pemberton,* and part- 
ing the next morning with Israel, John bore me company to Sam- 
uel Foulkes,^^ where I met the before mentioned Indians, and we 
were glad to see Each other. Here my Beloved Friend Benja- 
min Parvin '"' met me and proposed joyning as a Companion, we 
having passed some letters before on the Subject. And now on 
his account I had a Sharp tryal, for as the Journey appeared peri- 
lous, I thought if he went chiefly to bear me Company, and we 
should be taken captive, my having been the means of drawing 
him into these difficulties would add to my own Affliction. So I 
told him my mind freely, and let him know that I was resigned 
to go alone, but after all if he really believed it his duty to go on, 
I believed his Company would be very Comfortable to me. It 
was indeed a time of deep Exercise, and Benjamin appeared to 
be so fastened to the Visit, that he could not be easie to leave 
me. So we went on Accompanied by our Friends John Pember- 
ton ' and William Lightfoot ^^ of Pikeland, and lodged at Beth- 
da mo 
lehem and there parting with John, William and we 9. 6. went 
forward and got lodging on the floor at a house about five mile 
from Fort Allen. Here we parted with William, and at this 
place we met with an Indian Trader lately come from Wioming, 
and in conversation with him I perceived that many white people 
do often sell rum to the Indians, which, I believe, is a great evil, 
First they being thereby deprived of the use of their Reason and 
their spirits violently Agitated, quarrels often arise which ends 
in mischief, and the bitterness and resentments Ocasioned hereby 
are frequently of long continuance : again their Skins and furs 
gotten through much fatigue & hard travels in hunting, with 
which they intended to buy cloathing, [these] when they begin to 
be Intoxicated they often Sell at a low rate for more rum, and 
afterward when they suffer for want of the necessaries of life, 
are angry with those who for the Sake of gain took the ad- 

• Delaware. 


vantage of their weakness; of this their Chiefs have often com- 
plained at their Treaties with the EngHsh. 

Where cunning people pass Counterfeits and impose that on 
others which is only good for nothing, it is considered as a 
wickedness, but to sell that to people which we know does them 
harm, and which often works their Ruin, for the sake of gain 
manifests a hardened and Corrupt heart; and it is an evil which 
demands the care of all True Lovers of Virtue [in endeavouring] 
to Suppress. And while my mind this evening was thus em- 
ployed, I allso remembered that the people on the frontier among 
whom this evil is too common are often poor people who venture 
to the outside of a Colony that they may live more independent on 
Such who are wealthy, who often set high rents on their Land, be- 
ing then renewedly confirmed in a belief, that if all our inhabi- 
tants lived according to pure wisdom. Labouring to promote Uni- 
versal Love and Righteousness, and ceased from every inordi- 
nate desire after wealth, and from all customs which are Tinc- 
tured with Luxury, the way would be Easie for our Inhabi- 
tants, though much more numerous than at present, to live com- 
fortably on Honest Employments, without having that tempta- 
tion they are Often under of being drawn into schemes to make 
settlements on Lands which have not been honestly purchased 
of the Indians, or of Applying to that wicked practice of Selling 
rum to them. 

da mo 

10. 6. Set out early in the morning and crossed the Western 
Branch of Delaware called the Great Lehie,^ near fort Allen, the 
water being high we went over in a Canow. here we met an 
Indian and had some friendly conversation with him, & gave 
him some BisKet, and he having killed a Deer, gave the Indians 
with us some of it. Then after traveling some miles we met 
Several Indian men and women with a Cow and Horse & some 
household goods, who were lately come from their dwelling at 
Wioming, and going to Settle in another place. We made them 
some small presents, and some of them understanding English, I 
told them my motive in comeing into their Country, with which 
they appeared Satisfied : and one of our guides talking a while 
with an Antient woman concerning us, The poor old woman 

' The Lehigh River flows into the Delaware at Easton, 

VIII 1763 253 

came to my companion and me and took her leave of us with 
an Appearance of Sincere affection. So going on we pitched 
our Tent near the banks of the Same River, having laboured 
hard in crossing some of those Mountains called the Blue Ridge, 
and by the roughness of the Stones, and the cavities between 
them, and the steepness of y"* hills, it appeared dangerous : but 
we were preserved in Safety through the kindness of him whose 
works in these Mountainous Deserts appeared awfull, toward 
whom my heart was turned during this days Travel. 

Near our Tent on the sides of large Trees peeled for that pur- 
pose, were various Representations of men going to, and return- 
ing from the wars, and of Some killed in Battle, this being a 
path heretofore used by warriors. And as I walked about 
viewing those Indian histories, which were painted mostly in red 
but some with black, and thinking on the Innumerable Afflictions 
which the proud, fierce Spirit produceth in the world ; Thinking 
on the Toyls and fatigues of warriors, traveling over Mountains 
and Deserts, Thinking on their miseries & Distresses when 
wounded far from home by their Enemies, and of their bruises 
and great weariness in Chaseing one another over the Rocks and 
Mountains, and of their restless, unquiet state of mind who live 
in this Spirit, and of the hatred which mutually grows up in 
the minds of the Children of those Nations Engaged in war 
with each other: The desire to cherish the Spirit of Love and 
peace amongst these people, arose very fresh in me. 

This was the first night that we [were] in the woods, and 
being wet with traveling in the rain, the ground & our Tent wet, 
and the bushes wet which we purposed to lay under, our Blan- 
kets also, all looked discouraging ; but I believed that it was the 
Lord who had thus far brought me forward, and that he would 
dispose of me as He Saw good, and therein I felt easie. So we 
kindled a fire with our Tent door open to it, and with Some 
bushes next the ground, and then Blankets, we made our Bed, 
and lying down got some sleep, and in the morning feeling a little 
unwell I went into the River [all over:] The Water was cold, 
but soon after I felt fresh & well. 

da mo 

II. 6. The bushes being wet we tarried in our Tent till 
about Eight o'clock, then going on crossed a High Mountain Sup- 


posed to be upwards of four miles [wide, and] the Steepness 
[on] the north side exceeded all the others. We also crossed two 
Swamps and it Raining near Night, we pitched our Tent and 
lodged. About noon, on our way, we were overtaken by one of 
the Moravian Brethren ■"• going to Wahalowsing ^ and an Indian ^^ 
man with him who could talk English, and we being together 
while our horses eat grass, had some friendly conversation [then] 
they traveling faster than we soon left us. This Moravian 
[Brother] I understood, had Spent Some time this spring at Wa- 
halowsing, and was by some of [them] invited to come again, 
da mo 

12. 6. of the week being a Raiiiey day we continued in our 
Tent and here I was led to think on the nature of the Exercise 
which hath attended me. Love was the first motion, and then 
a Concern arose to Spend Some time with the Indians, that I 
might feel and understand their life, and the Spirit they live in, 
If happily I might receive some Instruction from them, or they 
be in any degree helped forward by my following the Leadings of 
Truth amongst them, and as it pleased the Lord to make way 
for my going at a Time when the Troubles of war were in- 
creasing, and when by reason of much wet weather Traveling 
was more difficult than usual at that Season, I looked upon it as 
a more favourable Oportunity to season my mind, and bring me 
into a nearer Sympathy with them. And as mine eye was to 
the great Father of Mercies, humbly desiring to learn what 
his will was concerning me, I was made quiet and content. 

Our [pilots] Horse though hoppled went away in the night, 
and after finding our own, & Searching some time for him, his 
footsteps were discovered in the path going back again, where- 
upon my kind Companion went of in the Rain, and after about 
.Seven hours returned with him, and here we lodged again, ty- 
ing up our horses before we went to Bed, & loosing them to feed 
about break of day. 

da mo 

13. 6. the Sun appearing we set forward, and as I rode over 
the barren Hills my meditations were on the Alterations of the 
Circumstances of the Natives of this land since the coming in of 

' Wyalusing, a village on tlie Susquehanna River. David Zeisberger was the 
Moravian Brother; the Indian was Nathaniel. 

VIII 1763 255 

the English. The Lands near the Sea are Conveniently scituated 
for fishing. The lands near the Rivers where the tides flow, 
and some above, are in many places fertile, and not mountain- 
ous ; while the Runing of the Tides makes passing up and down 
easie with an)' kind of Traffick. Those natives have in some 
places for [small] considerations sold their Inheritance so fa- 
vourably Scituated and in other places been driven back by su- 
perior force. So that in many places as their way of Clothing 
themselves is now altered from what it was, and they far remote 
from us have to pass over Mountains, Swamps, and Barran des- 
erts, where Traveling is very troublesome, in bringing their furs 
& skins to trade with us. 

By the Extending of English Settlements and partly by Eng- 
lish Hunters, those wild Beasts they chiefly depend on for a sub- 
sistence are not so plenty as they were. And people too often for 
the Sake of gain open a Door for them to waste their Skins & 
furs, in purchasing a Liquor which tends to the ruin of y™ & 
their Families. 

My own will and desire being now very much broken, and 
my heart with much earnestness turned to the Lord, to whom 
alone I looked for help in the dangers before me, I had a pros- 
pect of the English along the Coast for upwards of nine hun- 
dred miles where I have traveled. And the favourable Scitua- 
tion of the English, and the difficulties attending the natives [and 
the Slaves amongst us,] were open before me, and a weighty 
and Heavenly care came over my mind, and love filled my heart 
toward all mankind, in which I felt a Strong Engagement that we 
might be [faithful] to the Lord while His mercies [are yet ex- 
tended] to us, and so attend to pure Universal Righteousness as 
to give no just cause of offence to the gentiles who do not pro- 
fess Christianity, Whither the Blacks from Africa, or the Native 
Inhabitants of this Continent: And here I was led into a close, 
laborious Enquiry, whether I as an individual kept clear from 
all things which tended to Stir up, or were connected with wars, 
Either in this Land or Africa, and my heart was deeply con- 
cerned that in future I might in all things keep steadily to the 
pure Truth, & live and" walk in the plainness and Simplicity of a 
Sincere follower of Christ. And in this lonely Journey, I did this 
day greatly bewail the spreading of a wrong Spirit, believing 


that the prosperous Conveniant Scituation of the English, re- 
quires a Constant Attention to Divine love & wisdom, to guide and 
Support us in a way answerable to the will of that Good, Gra- 
cious, & Almighty Being who hath an Equal regard to all man- 
kind. And here Luxury and Covetousness, with the numerous 
Opressions and other evils attending them, appeared very Af- 
flicting to me, and I felt in that which is Immutable that the Seeds 
of great Calamity and desolation are Sown & growing fast on 
this Continent. Nor have I words sufficient to set forth that 
longing I then felt, that we who are placed along the Coast, & 
have tasted the Love and Goodness of God, might arise in his 
Strength, and like faithful Messengers Labour to check the 
growth of those Seeds that they may not ripen to the Ruin of our 

We reached the Indian Settlement at Wioming^ & here we 
were told that an Indian Runner had been at that place a day or 
two before us and brought news of the Indians taking an Eng- 
lish Fort Westward, and destroying the people, and that they 
were endeavouring to Take another. And also that another In- 
dian Runer came there about [midnight, the night next] before 
we got there, who came from a Town about ten miles above Wa- 
halowsing, and brought news that some Indian Warriors from 
distant parts, came to that Town with two English Scalps, and 
told the people that it was War with the English. 

Our [pilots] took us to the House of a Very Antient man, 
and soon after we had put in our baggage there came a man 
from another Indian House some distance off, and I perceiving 
there was a man near the door, went out, and he having a Toma- 
hock wraped under his matchcoat out of sight, as I approached 
him he took it in his hand. I, however, went forward, and 
Speaking to him in a friendly way, perceived he understood some 
English, my companion then coming out we had some talk with 
him concerning the nature of our Visit in these parts, and then he 
going into the House with us, and talking with our [pilots] soon 

* Wyoming — A settlement made in the second quarter of the 18th century, by 
Connecticut emigrants, in the fertile valley of the same name, on the north branch 
of the Susquehanna, in Luzerne county, Pa. Contests between the settlers 
and Indians were constant during the Colonial period, culminating in the massacre 
of July, 1778, when two-thirds of the inhabitants were killed by British troops 
and Indians. A monument opposite Wilkesbarre commemorates this event. 

VIII 1763 257 

appeared friendly & Sat down and smoaked his pipe. Though his 
taking [his] hatchet in his hand at the instant I drew near him, 
had a disagreeable appearance, I believed he had no other in- 
tent than to be in readiness in case any violence was offered to 

Hearing the news brought by these Indian Runers, and be- 
ing told by the Indians where we lodged that what Indians were 
about Wioming Expected in a few days to move to some larger 
Towns, I thought that, to all outward appearance it was danger- 
ous traveling at this time; and after a hard days journey [was] 
brought into a painfull Exercise at night, in which I had to trace 
back, and [feel] over the steps I had taken from my first move- 
ing in the visit, and though I had to bewail some weakness which 
at times had attended me, yet I could not find that I had ever 
given way to a wilfull disobedience: and [then] as I believed I 
had under a Sence of duty come thus far, I was now earnest in 
Spirit beseeching the Lord to Shew me what I ought to do. 

In this great distress I grew jealous of mySelf, lest the de- 
sire of Reputation, as a man firmly settled to persevere through 
dangers; Or the fear of disgrace ariseing on my returning with- 
out performing the visit might have some place in me. Thus 
I lay full of thoughts, great part of the night, while my Beloved 
Companion lay & Slept by me; Till the Lord my Gracious 
Father, who saw the conflicts of my Soul, was pleased to give 
C|uietness, and therein I was renewedly confirmed that it was my 
duty to go forward. Then was I again Strengthened to commit 
my Life, and all things relating thereto, into His Heavenly 
hands, and geting a little sleep toward day, when morning came 
we arose [and then on the] 

da mo 

14 : 6 :, we sought out and visited all the Indians hereabouts 
that we could meet with, they being chiefly in one place about 
a mile from where we lodged in all perhaps twenty. Here I 
Exprest the care I had on my mind for their good, and told them 
that true Love had made me willing thus to leave my home & 
family to come & see the Indians, and Speak with them in their 
houses. Some of them understood English and appeared kind & 
friendly. So we took our leave of those Indians, and went up 
the River Susquehannah about three miles to the House of an 


Indian called Jacob January,^^ who had killed his hog, and the 
women were making Store of Bread, and preparing to move up 
the River. Here our Pilots left their canow when they came 
down in the spring, which lying dry was leaky So that we being 
detained Some hours, had a good deal of friendly conversation 
with the family, and Eating Diner with them, we made some small 
presents. Then puting our Baggage in the Canow, Some of them 
pushed Slowly up the Stream, and the rest of us rode our Horses, 
and Swiming them over a Creek called Lehawahamunk,^ we 
pitched our Tent a little above, there being a Shower in the eve- 
ning : and in a Sence of Gods goodness in helping me in my Dis- 
tress, Sustaining me under Tryals, and Enclineing my heart to 
Trust in Him, I lay down in an humble bowed frame of mind 
& had a comfortable nights lodging, 
da mo 

15. 6. proceeded forward till afternoon, and then a storm 
appearing we met our Canoe at An Appointed place, and the 
Rain continuing we Stayed all night, which was so heavy that 
it [ran] through our Tent & wet us and our Baggage. 


16. we found on our way abundance of Trees blown down 
with the Storm yesterday, and had ocasion reverendly to consider 
the kind dealing of the Lord who provided a Safe place in the 
valley, for us while this Storm continued. By the falling of 
Abundance of Trees across our path we were much hindered 
and in Some Swamps our way was so Stoped that we got throu — 
with extre[am] difficulty. I had this day often to consider 
mySelf as a Sojourner in this world, and a belief in the Allsuffi- 
cienc)' of God to Support his people in their pilgrimage felt com- 
fortable to mc, and I was Industerously Employ'd to get to a state 
of perfect Resignation. 

We seldom saw our Canow but at appointed places by reason 
of the Path going off from the River, and this afternoon Job 
Chilaway "" an Indian from Wahalowsing who talks good English, 
& is acquainted with Several people in & about Philadelphia, 
[he meeting] our people on the River, and understanding where 
we Expected to lodge, pushed back about Six miles and came to 
us after night and in a while our own Canow came, it being hard 

* Lackawanna? 

viir 1763 259 

work pushing up Stream. Job told us that an Indian came in 
haiste to their Town yesterday, and told them that three warriors 
coming from Some distance, lodged in a Town above Wahalow- 
sing a few nights past, and that these three men were going 
against the English at Juniatta. Job was going down the River 
to the Province Store at Shamokin. 

Though I was so far favoured with health as to continue 
traveling, yet through the various difficulties in our Journey, and 
the different way of living from what I had been used to, I grew 
weak, and the news of these warriors being on their march so 
near us, and not knowing whither we might not fall in with them 
it was a fresh Tryal of my Faith, and though through the 
Strength of Divine Love I had Several times been enabled to com- 
mit myself to the Divine Disposal, I still found the want of my 
Strength [to be] renewed, that I might persevere therein, and 
my cries for help were put up to the Lord who in great Mercy 
gave me a resigned heart, in which I found quietness. 

da mo 

17: 6: parting [with] Job Chillaway ''* we went on, & reached 
Wahalowsing about the middle of the afternoon: The first In- 
dian that we Saw was a woman of a modest countenance, with a 
Babe. She first spake to our [Pilot] and then with a harmonious 
voice expressed her gladness at seeing us, [they] having before 
heard of our coming. Then by the direction of our [pilot] we 
sat down on a log, and he went to the Town to tell the people 
we were come. My companion & I Seting thus together in a 
deep inward stillness the poor woman came and sat near us, 
and great awfulness coming over us, we rejoyced in a sence 
of Gods Love manifested to our poor Souls. After a while, 
we heard a Konkshell blow several times & then came John 
Curtis and another Indian man, who kindly invited us into a 
House near the Town, where we found I suppose about Sixty 
people, Seting in Silence and after [Seting] a Short time I stood 
up and in Some tenderness of Spirit acquainted them with the 
nature of my visit, and that a concern for their good had made 
me willing to come thus far to see them : all in a few short Sen- 
tences which some of them understanding Interpreted to the 
others, and there appeared gladness amongst them. Then I 
Shewed them my Certificate, which was Explained to them, and 


the Moravian who overtook us on the way being now here [bid] 
me wellcome. 

da mo 

i8: 6: We rested ourselves this forenoon, & the Indians know- 
ing that the Moravian^ and I were of different Religious So- 
cieties, and as some of their people had encouraged him to come 
& Stay a while with them were I believe concern'd that no jar- 
ring or discord might be in their meetings, & they I suppose having 
conferred together acquainted me that the People at my request 
would at any time come together & hold meetings, & allso told 
me that they Expected the Moravian would speak in their setled 
meetings which are commonly held morning and near evening. 
So I found hberty in my heart to Speak to the Moravian, & told 
him of the care I felt on my mind for the good of these people, 
& that I believed no ill Effects would follow it, if I sometimes 
Spake in their meetings when love engaged me thereto, with- 
out caUing them together at times when they did not meet of 
course : whereupon he expresst his good-will toward my Speaking 
at any time, all that I found in my heart to say. So near evening 
I was at their meeting where the pure Gospel love was felt, to 
the tendering Some of our Hearts, and the Interpreters endeav- 
ouring to Acquaint the people with what I said in Short Sen- 
tences found some difficulty as none of them were quite per- 
fect in the English and Delaware Tongues ; So they helped one 
another, and we Laboured along. Divine Love attending, and 
afterwards, feeling my mind covered with the Spirit of Prayer, 
I told [those who] Interpreted that I found it in my heart to 
pray to God, & believed if I prayed Aright he would hear me, & 
Expresst my willingness for them to Omit Interpreting. So our 
meeting ended with a degree of Divine Love, & before the people 
went out, I observed [Papoonal ^^] the man who had been Zeal- 
ous in Labouring for a Reformation in that Town being then 
very tender Spoke to one of the Interpreters, and I was after- 
wards told that he said in substance as follows, "I Love to Feel 
where words come from." 

da mo st 

19. 6. & I of the week. This morning in the meeting the 
Indian *^ who came up with the Moravian being allso a member 

* David Zeisberger (40). 

VIII 1763 26l 

of that Society prayed, and then the Moravian Spake a Short 
time to the people. And in the afternoon, they coming together, 
and my heart being filled with a Heavenly care for their good, 
I spake to them awhile by Interpreters, but none of them being 
perfect in the work, & I feeling the Current of Love run Strong, 
told the Interpreters that I believed Some of the people would 
understand me, & so proceeded : In which exercise I believe the 
Holy [Ghost] wrought on Some hearts to Edification where all 
the words were not understood.' I looked upon it as a time of 
Divine Favour, & my Heart was tendered and truly thankfull 
before the Lord : and after I Sat down one of the Interpreters 
Seemed Spirited up to give the Indians the Substance of what I 

Before our first meeting this morning, [my mind] was led to 
meditate on the manifold difficulties of these Indians, who by 
permission of the Six Nations dwell in these parts, and a Near 
Sympathy with them was raised in me. And my [Heart being 
enlarged in the Love of [Christ] I thought that the Affectionate 
care of a good man for his only Brother in Affliction, does 
not exceed what I then felt for that people. 

I came to this place through much trouble, & though through 
the Mercies of God, I believed that if I died in the Journey it 
would be well with me, yet the thoughts of falling into the hands 
of [those] Indian warriors, was in times of weakness afflicting 
to me. And being of a Tender Constitution of Body the 
thoughts of captivity amongst them was at times grievous, as 
Supposing that they being strong & hardy might demand service of 
me beyound what I could well bear; but the Lord alone was my 
helper, and I believed if I went into captivity it would be for 
Some good end, and thus from time to time my mind was centered 
in Resignation in which I always found quietness. And now this 
day, though I had the Same Dangerous Wilderness between me 
& home, was inwardly JoyfuU that the Lord had Strengthened 
me to come on this Visit, and Manifested a Fatherly care over 
me in my poor lowly condition, when in mine own eyes I ap- 
pear'd inferior to many amongst the Indians. 

When the last mentioned meeting was ended it being night, 
[Papoonal]^^ went to Bed, and one of the Interpreters Seting 
by me, I observed [Papoonal] Spoke with an harmonious voice 


I suppose a minute or two and I asking the Interpreter, was told 
that he was Expressing "his Thankfullness to God for the favours 
he had received that day, and Prayed that he would continue to 
favour him with that same which he had experienced in that 
meeting." [That though Papoonal] had before agreed to receive 
the Moravian, and to join with them, he still appeared kind & 
Loving to us. 

da mo da 

20: 6: was at two meetings, & Silent in [both]. 21 : This morn- 
ing in Meeting my heart was Enlarged in pure love amongst 
them, and in Short plain Sentences Expresst several things that 
rested upon me ; which one of the Intei-preters gave the people 
pretty readily after which the meeting ended in Supplication, and 
T had cause humbly to acknowledge the Loving kindness of the 
Lord toward us ; And then I believed that a Door remained open 
for the Faithful! disciples of Jesus Christ to Labour amongst 
these people.^ 

I feeling my mind at Liberty to return, took my leave of them 
in general at the Conclusion of what I said in meeting, and so 
we prepared to go homeward, but some of their most active 
men told us, that when we were ready to move the people would 
choose to come & shake hands with us ; which those who usually 
came to meeting [generally] did, & from a secret [draft] in my 
mind I went amongst some who did not use to go to meetings & 
took my leave of them allso, and the Moravian and his Indian 
Interpreter appeared respectful to us at parting. This Town 
stands on the bank of Susquehannah & consists I believe of 
about forty Houses mostly compact together ; Some about thirty 
feet long, & Eighteen wide, some biger, & some less, mostly built 
of Split plank, one end set in the ground & the other pined to a 
plate, [and then] Rafters, and covered with Bark. I understand 
a great Flood last winter overflowed the Chief part of the ground 
where the Town Stands, and some were now about moveing their 
Houses to higher ground. 

^ MS. A has a marginal note by Woolman. "At our Yearly Meeting 1767. 
Information was given in our Meeting of Ministers and Elders that Some Indians 
far back had sent a Message in which thev desired that some of the Quakers 
would come and pay them a religious Visit. And in the year 1771 a message 
came to the governor of pensylv" part to that import." This note was added 
when the final copy of the Journal was made in 1771, by John Woolman. 

VIII 1763 263 

We Expected only two Indians to be our Company, but 
when we were ready to go we found many of them were going 
to Bethlehem with Skins and Furs, who chose to go in company 
with us : So they loaded two Canows, which they desired us to 
go in, telling us that the Waters were so raised with the Rains 
that the Horses should be taken by Such who were better 
Acquainted with the fording places. So we with several Indians 
went in the Canows, and others went on Horses, there being 
Seven besides ours, and we met with the Horsemen once on the 
way by Appointment, and then near night, a little below A Branch 
called Tankhannah ^ we lodged there, and some of the young 
men going out a little before dusk with their Guns brought in 
a Deer. 

da mo 

22. 6. Through diligence we reached Wioming before Night, 
and understood the Indians were mostly gone from this place; 
here we went up a Small Creek into the woods with our Canows, 
and pitching our Tent, carried out our Baggage, and before dark 
our Horses came to us. 

da mo 

23 : 6 : In the morning their Horses were loaded, & we pre- 
par'd our Baggage and so Set forward being in all fourteen, and 
with diligent Traveling were favoured to get near half way to 
Fort Allen. The Land on this Road from Wioming to Our 
Frontier being mostly poor, & good grass Scarce, they chose a 
piece of low ground to lodge on, as the best for graseing; and I 
having Swet much in Traveling, and being weary Slept sound. 
I perceiv'd in the Night that I had taken cold ; of which I was 
favoured to get better soon. 

da mo 

24 : 6 : We passed fort Allen, & lodged near it in the woods ; 
having forded the westerly branch" of Delaware three times, 
and thereby had a shorter way, & mist going over the highest 
part of the Blue Mountains, called the Second Ridge. In the 
Second time fording where the River cuts through the Mountain, 
the waters being Rapid and pretty deep. And my companion's 
mare being a tall & Tractable Animal, He Sundry times drove 

■ Tunkhannock. 

' The Lehigh River. 


her back through the River, & they loaded her with the Burthens 
of some Small Horses, which they thought not Sufficient to 
[venture] through with their Loads. 

The Troubles Westward and the difficulty for Indians to 
pass through our Fi-ontier, I apprehend was one Reason why. so 
many came as Expecting that our being in Company would 
prevent the outside Inhabitants from being Surprised. 

da mo 

25 : 6 : We reached Bethlehem takeing care on the way to 
keep foremost, and to Acquaint people on & near the Road who 
these Indians were. This we found very needfull for the Fron- 
tier Inhabitants were often alarmed at the Report of English 
being killed by Indians Westward. 

Amongst our Company were Some who I did not remember 
to have Seen at Meeting, and some of these 'at first were very 
reserved ; But we being several days together, and behaving 
friendly toward them, & making them sutable returns for the 
Services they did us, they became more free and Sociable. 

da mo da 

26. 6. & I of the week. Having carefully endeavoured to 
Settle all Affairs with the Indians relative to our Journey, we 
took leave of them and I thought they generally parted with us 
Affectionately. So we geting to Richland had a very Comfortable 
Meeting amongst our Friends : here I parted with my kind [& 
Beloved] Companion Benjamin Parvin,*" and accompanied by my 
Friend Samuel Foulke ^^ we rode to John Cadwaladers,^"' from 
whence I reached home the Next day, where I found my Family 
midling well, and they & my Friends all along appear'd glad to 
see me return from a Journey which they apprehended Dangerous, 
but my mind while I was out, had been Employed in Striving for 
a perfect Resignation; I had often been confirmed in a Belief that 
whatever the Lord might be pleased to allot for me would work 
for good. [And] I was now carefull lest I should admit any 
degree of Selfishness in being glad overmuch; And Laboured to 
Improve by those Tryals in Such a maner as my Gracious Father 
& Protector [may] intend for me. 

Between the English Inhabitants and Wahalowsing, we had 
only a narrow path, which in many places is much grown up with 
Bushes, and Interrupted by abundance of Trees lying across it; 

VIII 1761 265 

which together with the Mountains, Swamps, and rough Stones, 
it is a difficult road to Travel, and the more so for that Rattle- 
Snakes abound there, of which we killed four. That people who 
have never been in such places, have but an Imperfect Idea of 
them. But I was not only taught patience, but also made thankful 
to God who thus led me about and instructed me, that I might 
have a quick and lively feeling of the Afflictions of my fellow- 
Creatures, whose Scituation in life is difficult. 


The latter part of Sumer 1763 there came a man to Mountholly, 
who had before pubhshed by a printed Advertisement, that at 
a certain public House, he would [on Such a Certain Night,] 
show many wonderfuU Operations which he therein enumerated. 

This man, at the time appointed, did by Slight of hand, 
sundry things ; which, to those gathered, appeared Strange/ 

The next day I hearing of it, and understanding that the 
Shew was to be continued the next night, and the people to meet 
about sunset, felt an exercise on that account : So I went to the 
Public House in the evening, and told the man of the House 
that I had an Inclination to Spend a part of the evening there, 
with which he Signified that he was content. Then Seting down 
[on a long Seat] by the Door, I spake to the people as they 
came together concerning this Shew, and more coming and seting 
down with us, the Seats at the Door were mostly filled, and I 
had conversation with them in the fear of the Lord, and Laboured 
to convince them that thus Assembling to see those Tricks or 
Slights of hand, & bestowing their money to Support men who 
in that capacity were of no use in the world, was Contrary to 
the Nature of Christian Religion. 

There was one of the Company who for a time endeavoured 
by Arguments to show the reasonableness of their proceedings 
herein: but after Considering some texts of Scripture, and calmly 
debateing the matter he gave up the point. So I having spent, 
I believe, about an hour amongst them, & feeling my mind easie, 
departed. - 

* MS. A. This incident is omitted in B, 

2 At tliis point in the Journal, MS. A is inserted the Essay, "A Plea for the 
Poor," published first in 1793 with its title altered by its Editors to "A Word of 
Remembrance and Caution to the Rich." This occupies thirty-two folio pages, 
i.e. pp. 148-180. Pp. 181-186 contain the Essay, "On Schools," and pp. 186-194 
that "On Masters and Servants." They are numbered in fifteen "chapters," and 
appear intended for the Essays. 



John Woolman's Chair. 

In possession of his great-great-granddaitglitcr^ E. Ceceh.a Xe-j.bold, Bordentoun, .V. J. 

"Three Tuns" Tavern, Daniel Jones Proprietor, 1761. 
Xow the -Mill Street Hotel. 

Saratoga Street, Nantucket. Site of 
"Big Shop." 

Crosswicks, N. J. Thomas Middle- 
ton's Smoke-house. 

0(o,L ayyu'.-j -u'^a-,- , A /, -:f / ', ^ 

7 '/' 

John Woolman's Memorandum for Nursery Planting. 

IX 1764 267 

Notes at our Yearly Meeting at Philada. in 
the 9 month 1764. 

John Smith, "^ Chester county, aged upwards of 80 years, ^ a 
Faithful Minister, though not Eloquent, in our meeting of min- 
isters and elders stood up on the 25th. & appearing to be under 
a great exercise of Spirit, informed Friends ; That he had been a 
member of the society upward of Sixty years, and well remem- 
bered that in those early times Friends were a plain lowly minded 
people and that there was much tenderness and Contrition in 
their meetings & That at the end of twenty years from that time 
the society increasing in wealth and in some degree conforming 
to the fashions of the World, true Humility decreased and their 
meetings in general were not so lively and Edifying That at the 
end of Forty years many of the Society were grown rich, that 
wearing of fine costly Garments and with fashionable furniture, 
silver watches became customary with many & with their sons and 
daughters. And as these things prevailed in the Society & 
appeared in our Meetings of Ministers and Elders ; so the power- 
ful overshadowings of the Holy Spirit were less manifested 
amongst us That there had been an increase of outward great- 
ness till now, and that the weakness amongst us in not living up 
to our principles and supporting the Testimony of Truth in 
Faithfulness was matter of much Sorrow. 

He then mentioned the uncertainty of his Attending these 
meetings in future,- expecting his dissolution was near. And 
as pious parents, finally departing from their Families, express 
their last & fervent desires for their good, so did he most 
Tenderly Express his Concern for us ; And signified that he had 
seen in the True Light, that the Lord would bring forth his 
people from that worldly spirit into which too many had degen- 
erated And that his faithfull Servants must go through great 
and heavy Exercises before this work was brought about. 

da. mo. 

29: 9: 1764. The Committee appointed by the Yearly Meeting 
some time since to Visit the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings, 

» Of Marlborough, Pa. 

' A footnote of Woolman's in the MS. reads "It was the last Yearly Meeting 
he Attended." These "Notes" have been written on a separate sheet and stitched 
into MS. B from which they were fairly copied into MS. A. 


now made report in writing in which they signifyed that in the 
course of it they had been apprehensive that Some Persons ^ . . . 

After this report was read an exercise revived on my mind 
which, at times had attended me several years and inward Cries 
to the Lord were raised in me, that the fear of man might not 
hinder me from doing what He required of me; and so standing 
up in His Dread, I spake in Substance as follows — I have felt 
a Tenderness in my mind toward persons in Two Circumstances 
mentioned in that report ; that is, toward such active members who 
keep Slaves, and them who are in those offices in Government, & 
have desired that Friends in all their Conduct may be kindly 
Aflfectioned one toward another. Many Friends who keep Slaves 
are under some exercise on that account, and at times think 
about trying them with Freedom but find many things in their 
way: and the [manner] of Living, and annual Expenses of some 
of them are such that it is Impracticable for them to set their 
Slaves free without changing their own way of life. It has been 
my Lot to be often abroad, and I have observed in some places at 
Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, and at some [stages] where 
Traveling Friends and their Horses are often Entertained, that 
the yearly expense of Individuals therein is verry considerable : 
and Friends in some places crouding much on persons in these 
circumstances for Entertainment, hath often rested as a Burden 
on my mind for some years past, & I now Express it in the fear 
of the Lord, greatly desiring that Friends now present may duly 
consider it [And I may Here add what then Occurred to me, 
though I did not mention it, to wit: In Fifty pounds are four 
hundred half Crowns. If a Slave be valued at Fifty Pounds, and 
I with my Horse put his Owner to half a Crown Expence, and 
I with many others for a Couple of Years repeat these Expences 
four hundred times. Without any Compensation, then on a fair 

> The blank occurring here in the original manuscript with a note by the 
author, "get ye Report," has been filled in by the editors of the first edition of 
■ 774. who have evidently referred to the committee's report. Their insertion 
has been retained by all successive editors. It is as follows t — "holding offices 
in Government, inconsistent with our principles, and others who kept slaves, re- 
maining active members in our meetings of discipline, had been one means of 
weakness more and more prevailing in the management thereof in some places." 

IX 1764 269 

Computation this Slave may be Accounted a Slave to the PubHck, 
under the direction of the man he calls Master.]^ 

da mo 

9. 10. 1764 having hired a man to work, I perceived in con- 
versation that he had been a Soldier in the Late war on this 
Continent; and in the Evening giving a Narrative of his Captivity 
amongst the Indians, he inform'd me that he saw two of his 
fellow Captives Tortured to Death, [One of which being tied to a 
Tree had abundance of pine Splinters run into his Body and 
then set on fire, and that this was Continued at times near two 
Days before he died. That they opened the Belly of the other 
& fastened a part of his Bowels to a Tree, and then Whip'd the 
poor Creature till by his runing round the Tree his bowels were 
drawn out of his Body.] " This relation affected me with Sadness, 
under which I went to Bed, and the next morning soon after I 
awoke, a fresh and living Sence of Divine Love was Spread over 
my mind, in which I had a renewed prospect of the Nature of 
that Wisdom from above, which leads to a right use of all gifts, 
both Spiritual and Temporal, and gives content therein. Under 
a feeling thereof, I wrote as follows : 

Hath He who gave me a Being attended with many wants 
unknown to Brute-Creatures, given me a Capacity Superior to 
theirs, and shown me that a moderate application to business is 
proper to my present condition, and that this, attended with His 
Blessing may supply all outward wants, while they remain within 
the bounds He hath fixed, and no Imaginary wants proceeding 
from an evil Spirit, have any place in me? Attend then O my 
soul ! to this pure wisdom, as thy Sure conductor through the 
manifold Dangers in this world. 

Doth pride lead to Vanity? Doth Vanity form Imaginary 
wants ? Do these wants prompt men to Exert their power in 
requiring that of others, which themselves would rather be excused 
from, were the same required of them? Do those proceedings 
beget hard thoughts? Do hard thoughts, when ripe, become 
malice? Does malice when ripe become revengeful and in the 
end Inflict Terrible pains on their fellow-creatures, and spread 
desolations in the world? 

^ In MS. B. In all cases, early editors have omitted John Woolman's mathe- 
matical proofs or calculations. 

^ This horrible narration occurs in MS. B as well. 


Doth mankind, walking in uprightness, delight in each others 
happiness? And do these creatures, capable of this Attainment, 
by gi\^ng way to an evil Spirit, Employ their wit and Strength to 
Afflict and destroy one another? Remember then, O my soul! 
the Quietude of those in whom Christ Governs, and in all thy 
proceedings feel after it. 

Doth he condescend to Bless thee with His presence? to move 
and influence to action? To dwell in thee, and walk with thee? 
Remember then thy station as a being Sacred to God ; accept of 
the Strength freely ofl:'ered thee, and take heed that no weakness, 
in Conforming to Expensive, Unwise, and Hard-hearted customs, 
gendring to discord & Strife, be given way to. [Doth he claim 
my body as his temple, and graciously grant that I may be sacred 
to him ? Oh ! that I may prize this favour, and that my whole 
life may be conformable to this character.] ^ 

Remember, O my soul ! that the Prince of Peace is thy Lord : 
that he communicates his pure wisdom to His family. That they, 
living in perfect Simplicity, may give no just cause of offence to 
any Creature, but may walk as he walked. 

Having felt an Openness in my heart toward Visiting Fami- 
lies in our own meeting, & Especially in the town of Mountholly 
the place of my abode, I mentioned it in our Monthly Meeting 
the fore part of the winter, 1764, which being agreed to and 
Several Friends of our own Meeting being united in the Exer- 
cise, we proceeded therein, and through Divine Favour were 
helped in the work, so that it appeared to me as a fresh reviving 
of Godly care amongst friends. iVnd the latter part of the same 
winter I joyned my Friend William Jones, "' in a Visit to 
Friends families in Mansfield in which Labour I had cause to 
Admire the Goodness of the Lord towards [his poor Creatures.] 

Having felt my mind drawn toward a Visit to Friends along the 
Sea Coast from Cape may to near Squan, and allso to Visit 
some people in those parts amongst whom there is no Setled 
worship, I joyned with my beloved Friend Benjamin Jones ^° in 

da mo 
a visit there, having Friends unity therein and Seting of 24: 10: 
1765, had a prosperous and verry Satisfactory Journey, feeling 

' MS. A, p. 198. This sentence is Riven in the first edition, but in many later 
editions is omitted. It is not in MS. A, but in B. 

IX 1766 271 

at times/ through the goodness of the Heavenly Shepherd, the 
gospel to flow freely toward a poor people Scattered in those 
places, and soon after our return I joyned my Friends, John 
Sleeper '^ and Elizabeth Smith ^° in visiting Friends' families 
at [the Citty of] Burlington there being at this time about 50 
Families of our Society in that Citty, and we had cause Humbly to 
Adore our Heavenly Father who Baptized us into a feeling of 
the [Conditions] of the people and Strengthened us To labour 
in true Gospel Love amongst them. And near the same time my 
Friend John Sleeper ^* and I performed a visit to Friends Fami- 
lies belonging to Ancocas meeting, in which I found true Sat- 

An Exercise having at times for several years attended me in 
regard to paying a religious Visit to Friends on the Eastern Shore 
of Maryland Such was the nature of this Exercise that I believed 
the Lord [called] me to Travel on foot " amongst them, that by so 
Traveling I might have a more lively feeling of the Condition of 
the Oppressed Slaves, Set an example of lowliness before the 
Eyes of their Masters, and be more out of the way of Temptation 
to unprofitable familiarities & be less expence mongst them. 

The time now drawing near in which I believed it my duty to 
lay my Concern before our monthly meeting. I perceived in 
conversation with my Beloved Friend John Sleeper '^ that he 
was under a Concern to Travel the same way, and allso to Travel 
on foot in the form of a servant amongst them, as he Expresst 
it ; This he told me before he knew Aught of my exercise. 

We being thus drawn the same way, laid our Exercise and 
the nature of it before Friends and obtained Certificates we set 

da mo 
off the 6:5: 1766, and were at Meetings with Friends at Wilming- 
ton, Duck Creek, Little Creek & Motherkills, my heart [being] 
sundry times tendered under the Divine Influence and Enlarged 
in Love toward the people amongst whom we Traveled. From 
Motherkills we crossed the Country about thirty-five miles to 
Friends at Tuckahoe in Maryland, and had a meeting there, and 
also at Marshey Creek. At these our three last meetings were 

* "We were out about two weeks" has been crossed out by John Woolman. 
^ After this date — 1766 — all of John Woolman's distant travels appear to have 
been on foot. He kept and used horses for himself at home. 


a considerable number of people, followers of one Joseph 
Nichols," a Preacher, who I understand is not in outward Fel- 
lowship with any Religious Society of People, but professeth 
nearly the same principles as our Society doth, and often travels 
up and down, appointing meetings, to which many people come. 
I heard some Friends speaking of some of their neighbors who 
had been Irreligious people that were now his followers, and 
were become Sober well-behaved men and Women. 

Some irregularities I hear have been amongst the people at 
Several of his Meetings, but from the whole of what I have 
[heard] I believe the man & some of his followers are honestly 
disposed, but [believe] Skilful Fathers are wanting amongst 

From hence we went to Choptank and Third Haven, & thence 
to Queen Anns. The weather having some Days past been Hot 
and dry, & we to attend meetings [according] to appointment, & 
Travelled pretty steadily, and had hard Labour in meetings, I 
grew weakly, at which I was for a time discouraged : but looking 
over our Journey, and thinking how the Lord had supported our 
minds and Bodies, so that we got forward much faster than 
I expected before we came out ; I now saw that I had been in 
danger of too strongly desiring to get soon through the journey, 
and that this Bodily weakness now attending me was a kindness 
from Above. And then in Contrition of Spirit I became very 
thankful to my Gracious Father for this manifestation of his 
Love, and in humble Submission to His Will my Trust was 
renewed in Him. 

In this part of our journey, I had many thoughts on the differ- 
ent circumstances of Friends who Inhabit Pennsylvania and Jersey, 
from those who dwell in Maryland, Virginea, & Carolina. Penn- 
sylvania and New Jersey were setled by many Friends who were 
convinced of our Principles in England in times of Suffering, 
and coming over bought Lands of the Natives, and applied them- 
selves to husbandry in a peaceable way, and many of their Chil- 
dren were taught to Labour for their living. Few Friends I 
believe came from England to settle in any of these Southern 
Provinces; but by the faithful Labours of Traveling Friends in 
early times, there was considerable convincements amongst the 
Inhabitants of these parts. Here I remembered reading of the 

IX . 1766 273 

warlike disposition of many of the first setlers in those provinces, 
and of their numerous Engagements with the Natives, in which 
much Blood was Shed, even in the Infancy of those Colonies. 
These people inhabiting those places, being grounded in Customs 
contrary to the pure Truth; when some of them were Affected 
with the powerful preaching of the word of Life, and joyned in 
fellowship with our Society they had a great work to go through. 

It is observable in the History of the Reformation from 
Popery, that it had a gradual progress from age to age. The 
uprightness of the first Reformers to the Light and understanding 
given them, [tended to] open the way for sincere-hearted people 
to proceed further afterward, and thus each one truly fearing 
God, and Labouring in those works of Righteousness appointed 
for them in their Day, find acceptance with him. [And] though 
through the darkness of the times, and the Corruption of manners 
and Customs, some upright men may have had little more for 
their Days work than to attend to the Rightous principle in their 
[own] minds, as it related to their own conduct in life, without 
pointing out to others the whole extent of that which the same 
principle would lead succeeding ages into. Thus for instance 
amongst an Imperious warlike people supported by oppressed 
Slaves, some of these masters I suppose are awakened to feel 
and see their error, and through sincere repentance ceace from 
oppression, and become like Fathers to their Servants, Shewing 
by their example a pattern of Humility in living, and moderation 
in Governing, for the Instruction and Admonition of their oppres- 
sing neighbours. Those, without carrying the Reformation 
further, I believe have found acceptance with the Lord. Such 
was the beginning, and those who succeeded them, and have 
faithfully attended to the Nature and Spirit of the Reformation, 
have seen the necessity of proceeding forward, and not only to 
Instruct others by their example in governing well, but allso 
to use means to prevent their Successors from having so much 
power to oppress others. 

Here I was renewedly confirmed in my mind, that the Lord 
whose tender mercies are over all His works, and whose Ear 
is open to the Cries and Groans of the oppressed is Graciously 
moving on the Hearts of people to draw them of from the desire 
of wealth, and bring them into such a Humble lowly way of 


living that they may see their way clearly to repair to the standard 
of true Righteousness, and not only break the Yoke of Oppres- 
sion, but know him to be their Strength and Support in a time 
of outward affliction. 

We passing on crossed Chester river, & had a meeting there, 
and at Cecil and Sassafras. Through my bodily weakness joyned 
with a heavy exercise of mind it was to me a humbling dispensa- 
tion, and I had a very lively feeling of the state of the oppressed ; 
yet I often thought that what I suffered was little, compared with 
the sufferings of the Blessed Jesus, and many of his Faithful 
followers, and may say with thankfulness I was made content 
[under them.] 

From Sassafras we went pretty directly home, where we 
found our Families well. And for several weeks after our 
return I had often to look over our Journey and though to me 
it appeared as a Small service, and that some Faithful Messengers 
will yet have more bitter cups to drink in those Southern Prov- 
inces for Christs sake than we had, yet I found peace in that I 
had been helped to walk in Sincerity according to the under- 
standing and Strength given me. 

da mo 

13 :ii : 1766, with the Unity of Friends of our monthly meet- 
ing, & in company with my beloved Friend -Benjamin Jones ^^ I 
set out on a Visit to Friends in the Uper part of this Province,'- 
having had drawings of Love in my heart that way a considerable 
time. We traveled as far as Hardwick and I had inward peace 
in my Labours of Love amongst them. 

Through the humbling Dispensations of Divine Providence, 
my mind hath been brought into a further feeling of the Difficul- 
ties of Friends and their Servants South westward and being 
often engaged in Spirit on their account, I believ'd it my duty 
to walk into some parts of the Western Shore of Maryland, on 
a Religious Visit. And having obtained a certificate from Friends 
of our monthly meeting, I took leave of my Family under the 

da mo 
heart-tendering operation of Truth, and on the 20: 4: 1767 Rode 
to the Ferry ^ Opposite to Philad^ and from thence walked to 

' New Jersey. 

' This was the ferry at Kaighn's Point, now Camden, N. J. 

IX 1767 275 

William Homes " at Derby that Evening and So pursued my 
Journey alone, and fell in at Concord week-day meeting. 

Discouragements & a weight of distress had, at times, attended 
me in this lonesome walk ; through which Afflictions, I was 
mercifully preserved : & now Seting down with Friends my mind 
was turned toward the Lord, to wait for his Holy leadings, who 
in infinite Love was pleased to soften my Heart into humble con- 
trition, and did renewedly Strengthen me to go forward : that to 
me it was a time of Heavenly Refreshment in a Silent meeting. 

The next day I [fell in at] New Garden Week day meeting, 
in which I sat with bowedness of Spirit, and being Baptized into 
a feeling of the State of Some present the Lord gave us a heart- 
tendering Season, to his name be the praise. I passed on, and 
was at Nottingham Monthly Meeting, and at a meeting at Little 
Brittain on first Day, and in the afternoon several Friends came 
to the House where I Lodged and we had a little afternoon meet- 
ing, and through the humbleing power of Truth, I had to admire 
the Loveing kindness of the Lord manifested to us. 

da mo 

26. 4. 1767 I crossed Suscjuehannah, and comeing amongst 
people who lived in outward ease and greatness chiefly on the 
Labour of . . . Slaves my Heart was much affected, and in 
Awful retiredness my mind was gathered inward to the Lord, 
being humbly engaged that in true Resignation I might receive 
Instruction from Him respecting my Duty amongst this people. 

Though traveling on foot was wearisome to my Body, [I 
being at best but weakly,] yet thus traveling was agreeable to 
the state of my mind. I went gently on, being . . . weakly and 
was covered with Sorrow and heaviness on account of the 
Spreading prevailing Spirit of this world introduceing Customs 
grievous & oppressive on one Hand, and Cherishing pride and 
wantonness on the other. In this lonely walk and State of Abase- 
ment and Humiliation, the State of the Church in these parts was 
opened before me, and I may truly say with the Prophet, "I was 
bowed down at the hearing of it ; I was dismayed at the Seeing 
of it." 

Under this exercise I attended the Quarterly Meeting at Gun- 
powder, and in Bowedness of Spirit I had to Open with much 
plainness what I felt respecting Friends living in fullness on the 


Labours of the poor oppressed Negroes, And that promise of 
the Most High was now revived "I will gather all nations and 
Tongues, and they shall come and see my Glory." Here the 
Sufferings of Christ, and his taisting Death for every man. And 
the Travels, Sufferings and Marturdoms of the Apostles and 
primitive Christians, in Labouring for the Conversion of the 
Gentiles, was liveingly revived in me : And according to the 
Measure of Strength afforded I laboured in some tenderness of 
Spirit, being deeply affected amongst them. And thus the present 
treatment which these Gentiles, the Negroes,, receive at our 
hands [being set side by side with] the Labours of the primitive 
Christians for the Conversion of the Gentiles, [things were 
pressed] home, and the power of Truth came over us under the 
feeling of which my mind was united to a Tender-hearted people 
in those parts, and the Meeting concluded in a Sence of Gods 
goodness toward his Humble dependant Children. 

The next day was a general Meeting for worship, much 
crouded in which I was deeply engaged in Inward Cries to the 
Lord for help, that I might stand wholly resigned, & move only 
as he might be pleased to lead me, and I was mercifully helped 
to labour honestly & fervently amongst them, in which I found 
inward peace, and the Sincere hearted were comforted. 

From hence I turned toward Pipe Creek, and passed on to 
Red Lands, and had several meetings amongst Friends [on the 
West side of Susquehannah.] My Heart was often tenderly 
affected under a sence of the Lords Goodness ... in Sanctify- 
ing my Troubles & Exercises, turning them to my comfort, and 
I believe to the benefit of many others. For I may say with thank- 
fulness that in this Visit it appeared like a fresh Tendering Visita- 
tion in most places. I past on to the Western Quarterly Meeting 
in pensylvania. Dureing the several days of this Meeting, I was 
mercifully preserved in an inward feeling after the Mind of 
Truth, and my public Labours . . . tended to my [own] Humilia- 
tion with which I was content, and after the Quarterly meeting 
of Worship ended, I felt drawings to go to the Women's meeting 
of business which was very full, And here the Humility of Jesus 
Christ, as a pattern for us to walk by, was liveingly opened before 
me, and in treating on it, my Heart was Enlarged, and it was a 
Baptizeing time. From thence I went on, and was at Meetings 

IX 1767 277 

at Concord, Middletown, Providence, & Haddonfield and so home, 
where I found my Family well. A Sence of the Lords Merciful 
preservation in this my Journey incite Reverent Thankfulness to 

da mo 

2. 9. 1767 with the Unity of Friends, I set off on a Visit to 
Friends in the uper part of Berks [County] and Philadelphia 
County, was at 'i i Meetings in about two weeks, and have renewed 
cause to bow in Reverence before the Lord, who by the powerful 
Extendings of his humbling goodness opened my way amongst 
Friends, and made the meetings I trust profitable to many of us. 
The winter following I joyned Friends on a visit to Friends Fami- 
lies, in some part of our meeting, in which exercise the pure 
influence of Divine Love made our visits [many times] reviving, 
da mo 

On the 5. 5. 1768 I left home under the Humbling Hand 
of the Lord, having obtained a Certificate, in order to Visit some 
Meetings in Maryland. And to proceed without a Horse looked 
clearest to me. I was at Quarterly meetings of Philada. and 
Concord and then went on to Chester river, & crossing the Bay 
with Friends, was at the Yearly Meeting at West River : thence 
back to Chester river and takeing a few meetings in my way I 

da mo 
proceeded home [which I reached 10: 6: 1768.] It was a 
Journey of much inward waiting, and as my Eye was to the 
Lord, way was several times opened to my humbling admira- 
tion, when things had appeared very difficult. I on my 
return I felt a relief of Mind very comfortable to me, having 
through [the help of my Heavenly Father, been strengthened to] 
labour in much plainness [of Speech,] both with Friends Selected, 
and in the more publick Meetings ; so that I trust the pure wit- 
ness in many Minds was reached. 

da mo 

11:6: 1769. Sundry cases have happened of late years, within 
the limits of our monthly meeting respecting that of exercising 
pure Righteousness toward the Negroes, in which I have lived 
under a labour of heart that Equity might be Steadily kept to 
... : on this account I had had some close exercises amongst 
friends, in which I may thankfully say I find peace, and as my 


meditations have been much on Universal love, my own conduct 
in time past became of late very grievous to me. ... As persons 
seting Negroes free in our province, are bound by Law? to main- 
tain them in case they have need of relief, some who scrupled 
keeping Slaves term of life, in the time of my youth, were wont 
to detain their young Negroes in their Service till thirty years 
of age, without wages on that account, and with this custom I so 
far agreed, that I [as companion] to another Friend in executing 
the will of a deceased Friend, once sold a negro lad till he might 
attain the age of Thirty years, and applied the money to the 
use of the Estate. 

With abasement of heart I may now say, that sometimes as 
I have sat in a meeting with my heart exercised toward that 
awful Being who respecteth not persons nor colours, & have 
looked on this negro lad, I've felt that all was not clear in my 
mind respecting him : and as I have attended to this exercise, 
and fervently sought the Lord, it hath appeared to me that I 
should make some restitution, but in what way I saw not till 
lately, when being under some concern that I might be resigned 
to go on a visit to some part of the West Indians, . . . and was 
under a close engagement of spirit, seeking to the Lord for 
counsil that of joyning in the sale aforesaid came heavily upon me, 
and my mind for a time was covered with darkness and Sorrow, 
and under this sore affliction my heart was softened to receive 
instruction, and here I first saw, that as I had been one of the 
two Executors who had sold this [negro] for nine years longer 
than is common for our own Children to serve, so I should now 
offer a part of my Substance to redeem the last half of that nine 
years : but as the time was not yet come I executed a Bond binding 
me and my executors to pay to the man he was sold to, what to 
candid men might appear equitable, for the last four years and a 
half of his time, in case the said youth should be living, and in a 
condition likely to provide comfortably for himself.^ 

da mo 

[9: 10: 1769. My heart hath often been deeply affected under 
a feeling I have had that the standard of Pure Righteousness is 
not lifted up to the people by us as a Society in that clearness 
which it might have been, had we been so faithful to the teachings 

* Nothing appears on the books as to this transaction. 

IX 1769 279 

of Christ as we ought to have been, and as my mind hath been 
inward to the Lord, the purity of Christs Government hath been 
opened in my understanding, and under this Exercise, that of 
Friends being active in civil society, in putting Laws in force 
which are not agreeable to the purity of Righteousness, hath for 
several years past been an increasing burden upon me, having 
felt, in the openings of Universal Love, that where a people, 
convinced of the truth of the inward teachings of Christ, are 
active in puting Laws in Execution which are not consistent with 
pure wisdom, it hath a necessary tendency to bring dimness over 
their minds, and as my heart hath been thus exercised, and a 
tender sympathy in me toward my fellow members, I have, within 
a few months past, in several meetings for discipline, expressed 
my concern on this Subject.]^ 

^ This paragraph does not appear in MS. B. 


da mo 

12. 3. 1770. having for some years past dieted myself on 
account of a lump gathering on my Nose, and under this diet 
grew weak in body, and not of ability to travel by Land as before; 
I was at times favoured to Look with awfulness toward the 
Lord, before whom are all my ways, who alone hath the power of 
Life and Death, and to feel thankfulness [incited] in me [toward 
Him] for this his Fatherly chastisement, believing if I was truly 
humbled under it all would work for good. 

While I was under this bodily weakness, my mind being at 
times exercised for the good of my fellow-creatures in the West 
indies, I grew jealous over myself, lest the disagreeableness of 
the prospect should hinder me from obediently attending thereto ; 
for though I knew not that the Lord required me to go there, 
yet I believed that resignation was now called for in that respect: 
and feeling a danger of not being wholly devoted to him, I was 
frequently engaged to watch unto prayer, that I might be pre- 
served ; and upwards of a year having passed, I walked one day 
in a Solitary wood, my mind being covered with awfulness ; cries 
were raised in me to my Merciful Father, that lie would graciously 
keep me in faithfulness, and it then settled on my mind as a duty, 
to open my condition to Friends at our monthly meeting; which 
I did soon after, as follows : 

"An exercise hath attended me for some time past, and of 
late been more weighty upon me, under which I believe it is 
required of me to be resigned to go on a visit to some part of 
the West Indies," and in the quarterly and general spring meet- 
ing, found no clearness to express any thing further, than that I 
believed resignation herein was required of me; and having 

' From this point, witli a new pen, tlie handwriting improves. There are 
also fewer capitals employed. 


X 1770 28 I 

obtained Certificates from all said Meetings, I felt like a sojourner 
at my outward habitation, kept free from worldly encumbrance, 
and was often bowed in Spirit before the Lord, with inward 
breathings to him that I might be rightly directed. 

And I may here note, that being, when young, joyned as 
Executor with another friend [we two] in executing the will of 
the deceased sold a Negro lad till he might attain the age of 
Thirty [on which account I had now] great sorrow [as before 
related.] "^ And having settled matters relating to this youth, i 
[soon after] provided a sea store and Bed, and things fiting for 
a voyage ; and hearing of a vessel likely to sail from Philadelpliia 
for Barbadoes, I spake with one of the owners ^ at Burlington, & 
soon after went on purpose to Philadelphia to speak with him 
again, at which time he told me there was a Friend in town who 
was part owner of the said vessel, but I felt no inclination at 
that time to speak with him, but returned home, and a while after 
I took leave of my family, and [going] to Philadelphia, had some 
weighty conversation with the first mentioned owner, and shewed 
him a writeing, as follows: 

da mo 

25. II. 1769. "As an exercise with respect to a visit to 
"Barbadoes hath been weighty on my mind, I may express some 
"of the tryals which have attended me : under these tryals I have 
"at times rejoiced, in that I have my own self will subjected. 

"I once some years ago retailed Rum, Sugar, and Molasses, 
"the fruits of the labour of Slaves but then had not much concern 
"about them, save only that the Rum might be used in moderation ; 
"nor was this concern so weightily attended to, as I now believe 
"it ought to have been; but of late years, being further informed 
"respecting the oppressions too generally exercised in These 
"Islands, and thinking often on the degrees that are in connexions 
"of Interest and fellowship with the works of darkness, Ephes. 
"V. II, and feeling an increasing concern to be wholly given up 
"to the leadings of the holy Spirit, it hath appeared that the small 
"gain I got by this branch of Trade should be applied in promot- 
"ing Righteousness on the Earth, and near the first motion 
"toward a Visit to Barbadoes, I believed the outward Substance 

^ See above, p. 278. 

* John Smith, of Burlington and Philadelphia. See Appendix, (15). 


"I possess should be applied in paying my passage if I go, and 
"providing things in a lowly way for my subsistence; but when 
"the time drew near, in which I believed it required of me to be 
"in readiness, a difficulty arose which hath been a continued tryal 
"for some months past, under which I have with abasement of 
"mind, from day to day sought the Lord for instruction, and 
"often had a feeling of the condition of one formerly, who 
"bewailed himself for that the Lord hid his face from him. 
"During these exercises my heart hath been often contrite, and 
"I have had a tender feeling of the Temptations of my fellow 
"creatures, labouring under those expensive customs distinguish- 
"able from the simplicity that there is in Christ, 2 Co. ii. 3, and 
"sometimes in the renewings of gospel Love have been helped to 
"minister to others. 

"That which hath so closely engaged my mind in seeking to 
"the Lord for instruction is, whither, after so full information of 
"the oppression the slaves lie under, in the West indies who raise 
"the west india produce, as I had in reading a Caution & warning 
"to Great Brittain & her Colonies,' wrote by Anthony Benezet,* 
"it is right for me to take a passage in a Vessel employed in the 
"west india trade [or not?] 

"To trade freely with oppressors, and without labouring to 
"dissuade from such unkind treatment, seek for gain by such 
"traffick — I believe tends to make them more easie respecting 
"their conduct than they would be if the cause of Universal Right- 
"eousness was humbly and firmly attended to, by those in general 
"with whom they have commerce, and that complaint of the 
"Lord by his prophet, They have strengthened the hands of 
"the wicked, hath very often revived in my mind. And I may 
"here add some circumstances preceding any prospect of a Visit 

"The case of David hath often been before me of late years. 
"He longed for some water in a well beyond an army of Philis- 

^ Anthony Benezet. "A Caution and Warning to Great Britain and Her 
Colonies in a Short Representation of the Calamitous State of the Enslaved Negroes 
in the British Dominions." London, 1767. This mentions an "Account of the 
European Settlements in .'\merica, printed in 1757," and quotes, "The Negroes 
in our Colonies Endure a Slavery more complete, and attended with far worse 
circumstances than what any people in their condition suffer in any other part of the 

X I770 283 

"tians who were at war with Israel, and some of his men to 
"please him, ventured their lives in passing through this army, 
"and brought that water. It doth not appear that the Israelites 
"were then scarce of water ; but rather that David gave way to 
"delicacy of taste : but having thought on the danger these men 
"were exposed to, he considered his water as their Blood, and 
"his heart smote him that he could not drink it, but poured it out 
"to the Lord, and the oppression of the Slaves which I have 
"seen in several journeys Southward on this continent, and the 
"report of their Treatment in the west indies hath deeply affected 
"me, and a care to live in the Spirit of peace, and minister just 
"cause of offence to none of my fellow creatures, hath from time 
"to time livingly revived on my mind, and under this exercise I 
"for some years past declined to gratify my pallate with those 

"I do not censure my Brethren in these things, but believe 
"the Father of Mercies to whom all mankind by Creation are 
"equally related, hath heard the Grones of these oppressed people, 
"and is preparing some to have a tender feeling of their condition, 
"and the tradeing in, or frequent use of, any produce known to be 
"raised by the labours of those who are under such lamentable 
"oppression, hath appeared to be a subject which may yet more 
"require the Serious consideration of the humble followers of 
"Christ the prince of peace. 

"After long and mournful exercise I am now free to mention 
"how things have opened in my mind, with desires that if it may 
"please the Lord to further open his will to any of his Children 
"in this matter, they may faithfully follow him in such further 

"The number of those who decline the customary use of the 
"West India produce on account of the hard usage of the slaves 
"who raise it, appears small, even amongst people truly pious; 
"and the labours in Christian love on that subject of those who 
"do, have not been very extensive. 

"Was the Trade from this Continent to the West Indies to be 
"quite stoped at once, I believe many there would suffer for want 
"of bread. 

"Did we on this Continent, and the Inhabitants of the west 
"indies generally dwell in pure Righteousness, I believe a small 


"trade between us might be right, that under these considerations, 
"when the thoughts of wholly declineing the use of tradeing ves- 
"sels, and of trying to hire a vessel to go under ballast have arose 
"in my mind, I have believed that the Labours in gospel love yet 
"bestowed in the cause of Universal Righteousness are not arrived 
"to that hight. 

"If the trade to the west indies was no more than was consist- 
"ent with pure wisdom, I believe the passage money would for 
"good reasons be higher than it is now, and here under deep 
"exercise of mind, I have believed that I should not take the 
"advantage of this great trade and small passage money, but as 
"a Testimony in favour of less tradeing, should pay more than 
"is common for others to pay, if I go at this time." 

The first mentioned owner having read the paper, expresst a 
willingness to go with me to the other owner,^ and we going, the 
said other owner read over the paper, and we had some solid 
conversation, under which I felt my soul bowed in Reverence 
before the Most High ; and at length one of them asked me if I 
would go and see the Vessel, but I had not clearness in my mind 
to go, but went to my lodgings & retired in private. 

I was now under great exercise of mind, and my Tears were 
poured out before the Lord, with inward cries, that he would 
graciously help me under these tryals. In this case I believe my 
mind was resigned, but did not feel clearness to proceed ; and my 
own weakness, and the Necessity of Divine instruction were 
impresst upon me. 

I was for a time as one who knew not what to do, and was 
tossed as in a Tempest: under which affliction, the doctrine of 
Christ, take no thought for the morrow, arose livingly before me. 
I remembered it was some days before they expected the vessel to 
Sail, and was favoured to get into a good degree of stillness, and 
having been near two days in town, I believed my Obedience to 
my Heavenly Father consisted in returning homeward. I then 
went over amongst Friends on the Jersey shore, and tarried till 
the morning on which they had appointed to Sail : and as I lay 
in Bed the latter part of that night, my mind was comforted ; and 
I felt what I esteemed a fresh confirmation, that it was the 

' The owners were John Smith '• of Burlington and Philada., son in-law of James 
Logan, and James Pemberton.' 

X 1770 285 

Lords will that I should pass through some further exercises 
near home. 

So I went home and still felt like a sojourner with my family: 
and in the fresh spring of pure Love, had some labours in a 
private way amongst Friends, on a Subject relating to Truths 
Testimony ; under which I had been exercised in heart for some 
years. I remember as I walked on the Road under this exercise, 
that passage in Ezekiel came fresh before me; "whither soever 
their faces were turned, thither they went:" and I was graciously 
helped to discharge my duty in the fear and dread of the Almighty. 
And after a few weeks it pleased the Lord to visit me with . . . 
a pleurisy/ and after I had lain a few days and felt the disorder 
very grievous, I was thoughtful how it might end. 

I had of late through various exercises been much weaned 
from the pleasant things of this life, and I now thought if it was 
the Lords will to put an end to my labours, and Graciously receive 
me into the arms of his Mercy, death would be acceptable to me : 
but if it was his will further to refine me under Affliction, and 
make me in any degree useful in his Church, I desired not to die. 
I may with thankfulness say that in this case I felt Resignedness 
wrought in me, and had no inclination to send for a Doctor, believ- 
ing if it was the Lords will, through outward means to raise me 
up, some sympathizing friends would be sent to minister to me, 
which were accordingly. But though I was carefully attended 
yet the disorder was at times so heavy that I had no thoughts of 
recovery : One Night in particular my bodily distress was great, 
my feet grew cold, and cold increased up my legs toward my 
Body, and at that time I had no inclination to ask my Nurse to 
apply any thing warm to my feet, expecting my end was near, 
and after I had lain near ten hours in this condition I closed my 
eyes thinking whither I might not be delivered out of the Body, 
but in these awful moments my mind was livingly opened to 
behold the Church, and Strong Engagements were begotten in 
me for the Everlasting well being of my fellow creatures, and 1 
felt in the spring of pure Love that I might remain some longer 
in the Body, in filling up, according to my measure that which 

^ This illness came back to his recollection in England, in 1772, when he described 
his "vision" and set down his objections to extravagant living, of which he wrote 
upon his recovery. 


remains of the Afflictions of Christ, and in labouring for the good 
of the Church: after which I requested my Nurse to apply 
warmth to my feet, and I revived,^ and the Next Night, feeling 
a weighty exercise of Spirit, and having a solid Friend ^ seting 
up with me I requested him to write what I said, which he did, 
as follows 

da mo 

"4: i: 1770, about five in the morning. I have seen in the 
"Light of the Lord, that the day is approaching, when the man 
"that IS the most wise in human policies, shall be the greatest 
"fool; and the Arm that is mighty to support injustice shall be 
"broken to pieces : the Enemies of righteousness shall make a 
"terrible rattle, and shall mightily torment one another ; for He 
"that is omnipotent is riseing up to judgment, and will plead 
"the cause of the Oppressed : and he commanded me to open the 

Near a week after this feeling my mind livingly opened I 
sent for a neighbour who at my request wrote as follows : 

"The place of prayer is a precious habitation,' for I now saw that 
"the prayers of the Saints was precious Incense : and a Trumpet 
"was given me, that I might sound fourth this Language ; that the 
"Children might hear it, and be invited to gather to this precious 
"habitation, where the prayers of Saints as precious incense ariseth 
"up before the Throne of God & the Lamb I saw this habitation to 

^ In the Larger Account Book, written in by John Woolman himself upon his 
recovery, is the following memorandum, with a date that places the incident at 
this point: "3 of the i mo. 1770. In the Morning. I had Been for Ten Hours 
or more that I thought Death was upon me. I Once Closed my Eyes and waited 
to know if I might now be Delivered out of this Bodev : But I looked at the 
Church and I was moved for Her: and I was held Fast and perceived that I 
might Remain Some longer in the Bodey, in filling up that which Remains of 
the Afflictions of Christ, and in Speaking Some Words to the Church." This was 
the first draft of the paragraph. 

" This is also first copied into the Larger Account Book, which has served so 
many purposes. It is in the handwriting of the "solid Friend," and ends with 
the signature of the witness; — "Pronounced by John Woolman and written by 
mc. Caleb Carr." "^ The passage has been much edited. With this is a word 
or two — "In human policies men are wise to do Evil as exprest by the prophet." 

^ The text in Revelations, viii, i, is thus quoted: "and tlie 7th. Seal was opened 
and for a Certain time there was Silence in Heaven. And I saw an Angel with 
a golden Censer & he offered with it incense, with the prayers of the Saints, and 
it rose up before the Throne." Later, a pen was drawn through the quota- 
tion, probably because of its inaccuracy. A week after this, was written the 
se|iarate memorandum as to the use of silver vessels, which is given in full in 
the Introduction. 

X I770 28; 

"be safe, to be inwardly quiet, when there was great Stirings and 
"commotions in the world. 

"Prayer at this day in pure resignation is a precious place. The 
"trumpet is Sounded, the Call goes forth to the Church, that She 
"gather to the place of pure inward prayer; and her habitation is 

At this point, on page 221, ends the folio manuscript (A) of 
the Journal, in John Woolman's own hand. From this paragraph 
this text follows the original manuscripts of the Journal of the 
Voyage, and in England, now at Swarthmore College, Pa. These 
have been copied into the folio, which thus contains the complete 
narrative as used for publication by Joseph Crukshank. They 
are in the handwriting of John Woolman's great grandson, accord- 
ing to his own memorandum, which occurs here : 

"What follows in this book is copied from the original Manu- 
scripts in John Woolman's own handwriting. 

Samuel Comfort." 

The space upon page 223, however, is taken up with John 
Woolman's autograph account of a dream, which has been given 
at length in the Introduction. Here also occur copies of the two 
letters which have been already quoted in their chronological con- 
nection, embodied heretofore in the Journal at this point solely 
because, for convenience, Woolman used the blank leaves which 
followed his Journal. 

The Journal of the Voyage is a small blue paper covered 
pamphlet, originally of forty six pages, but with insertions, some 
of them left blank. It is a handy pocket form, measuring four 
and a half by six and a half inches, and has been repaired and 
stitched together, although still largely in its original condition. 
Samuel Comfort's re-numbering of pages may be traced by the 
use of more modern ink. They correspond to the paging in 
John Comly's edition of 1837, in which he had Samuel Comfort's 

On the outside of the book is a note by the editors : "All in 
this book printed in England." Woolman himself notes "46 

^ See Introduction. 


pages" and writes, "John Woolman's Journal of his Voiage to 
England, from i. 5mo. 1772 to the 7th. 6mo." The second page 
contains a row of figures referring to the days of the week and 
the corresponding days of the calendar, beginning with "7th. day 
the i6th." 

The first forty six pages contain the Voyage, ending with the 
charge to Sophia Hunie.'^" ' The next twenty two, with the 
account of the English tour, have been added. Nine blank leaves 
follow, and the next twenty two pages contain memoranda, a 
copy of letter, three and a half pages of description, written 
"At the house of Thomas Priestman, &c.," notes for the Essays, 
written in England, and Aaron Smith's memorandum, &c. There 
are 108 pages altogether, eighteen of which are- blank, stitched 
into the middle of the book. This is the manuscript from which 
the concluding pages of the Journal have been taken. A copy 
was made at York, after Woolman's death, and the original was 
then sent by the hand of Samuel Emlen, to his family in America. 
The copy is still at Aimer}- Garth, York, the house where Wool- 
man died. Through the kindness of the owner, the late Malcolm 
Spence, the manuscript, now in possession of his sister, has been 
photographed and placed at the editor's disposal for collation. 
The letter to Reuben Haines " embodies the text of these manu- 
script notes, and is a verbatim copy, with valuable additions, by 
William Tuke.** 

' See p. 303. 




=S a: 


rt S 





FROM I— 5Mo: 1772, TO THE 7th 6mo: 



Memorandum of my proceedings ^ to take a passage for 
England on a religious visit. 

My beloved friend Sam' Emlen ' jun. having taken a passage 
for himself in the Cabbin of the Ship called Mary and Elisabeth, 
James Sparks, Master, and John Head ^^ of the Citty of philad'', 
the owner, & I feeling a draft in my Mind toward the Stearage 
of the Same Ship, went first of all and opened to Samuel the 
feeling I had concerning it. 

My beloved friend wept when I Spake to him, and appeared 
glad that I had thoughts of going in the Vessel with him, though 
my prospect was toward the Stearage, & he offering to go with 
me, we went on board, first into the Cabbin a comodious room, 
and then into the Stearage where we sat down on a Chest, the 
sailors being busy about us : then the owner ^^ of the Ship [a 
member of our Society,] came & sat down with us. 

Here my mind was turned toward Christ, the heavenly Coun- 
sellor; & I feeling at this time my own will Subjected, my heart 
was contrite before [him.] 

A motion was made by the owner to go and Sit in the cabbin 
as a place more retired ; but I felt easie to leave the Ship, and 
made no agreement as to a passage in her ; but told the owner if I 
took a passage in the ship I believed it would be in the Stearage, 
but did not say much as to my exercise in that case. 

After I went to my lodgings and the case was a little known 
in town a friend laid before me the great inconveniences attending 

' The opening paragraphs as given in all previous editions of the Journal, do not 
exist in John Woolman's manuscript. They appear to have been inserted by the 
Committee of 1774 who prepared the first edition. If this portion has been 
lost, it was a later addition, as the little manuscript is complete as it stands. 



that Stearage [with respect to a passage in it,] which for a time, 
appeared very discouraging to me. 

I soon after went to bed, and my mind was under a deep exer- 
cise before the Lord, whose helping hand was manifested to me 
as I slept that night, and his love Strengthened my heart and in 
the morning I went with two friends on board the Vessel again, 
and after a short time Spent therein I went with Samuel Emiin' 
to the house of the owner, to whom in the hearing of Samuel only 
I opened my exercise in substance as follows, in relation to a 
Scruple I felt with regard to a passage in the Cabbin 

I told the owner that on the outside of that part of the Ship 
where the cabbin was, I observed sundry sorts of Carved work 
and Imagery, and that in the Cabbin I observed some superfluity 
of workmanship of several sorts, and that according to the ways 
of mens reckoning, the Sum of money to be paid for a passage 
in that Appartment hath some relation to the Expence, in furnish- 
ing the room to please the minds of such who give way to a 
conformity to this world ; and that in this case, as in other cases, 
the moneys received from the passengers are calculated to answer 
every expense relating to their passage, and amongst the rest the 
expence of these superfluities. And that in this case I felt A 
scruple with regard to paying my money to defray such expences. 

As my mind was now opend, I told the owner that I had at 
Several times in my travels, seen great oppressions on this conti- 
nent at which my heart had been much afl^ected, and brought often 
into a feeling of the state of the Sufferers. And having many 
times been engaged, in the fear and love of God, to labour with 
those under whom the oppressed have been born down and 
afflicted, I have often perceived that [it was with] a view to get 
riches, and provide estates for Children to live comformable to 
customs, which stand in that Spirit wherein men have regard to 
the honours of this world. That in the pursuit of these things, 
I had seen many entangled in the Spirit of oppression, and the 
exercise of my Soul had been such, that I could not find peace in 
joining with any thing which I saw was against that wisdom which 
is pure. 

After this I Agreed for a passage in the Stearage, and hearing 
in town that Joseph White ^^ had a mind to see me, I felt the 
reviving of a desire to see him, and went then to his house, and 
next day home, where I tarried two Nights, and then early in the 

XI 1772 "29^ 

morning, I parted with my family, under a sense of the humbling 
hand of God upon me, and going to Philad''. had opportunity with 
several of my beloved friends, who appeared to be concerned for 
me, on account of the unpleasant Scituation of that part of the 
Vessel where I was likely to lodge. 

In these oportunities my mind through the Mercies of the 
Lord was kept low, in an inward waiting for his help, and friends 
having expressed their desire that I might have a place more 
convenient than the Stearage did not urge but appeared disposed 
to leave me to the Lord. 

Having stayed two nights in Philada I went the next day to 
Darby monthly meeting, where through the Strength of divine 
Love my heart was enlarged toward the Youth then present, 
under which I was helped to labour in some tenderness of Spirit. 

Then lodging at William Homes '"'' I with one friend went to 
Chester where meeting with Samuel Emlin ' we went on board 
da mo 

1:5:, 1772 and as I sat down alone on a Seat on the deck I felt 
a Satisfactory evidence that my proceedings were not in my own 
will but under the power of the Cross of Christ. 

da mo 

7:5: have had rough weather mostly since I came on board ; 
and the passengers, James Reynolds,*"- John Till-Adams,'"' Sarah 
Logan -'^ and her hired maid, and John Bispham,-^' all Sea-sick, 
more or less at times ; from which sickness through the tender 
Mercies of my heavenly Father I have been preserved. My afflic- 
tions now being of another kind. 

There appeared an openness in the minds of the Master of 
the Ship, and in the Cabbin passengers toward me : we were 
often together on the deck, and Sometimes in the Cabbin. 

My mind through the merciful help of the Lord hath been 
preserved in a good degree watchful & inward, and I have this 
day great cause to be thankful, in that I Remain to feel quietness 
of mind. 

As my lodging in the Stearage, now near a week, hath afforded 
me sundry opportunities of seeing, hearing, and feeling, with 
respect to the life & Spirit of many poor Sailors, an inward 
exercise of Soul hath attended me, in regard to placing out Chil- 
dren and youth where they may be likely to be exampled and 
instructed in the pure fear of the Lord ; and I being much amongst 


the Sea men, have from a motion of love, sundry times taken 
opportunities with one alone, and in a free conversation, laboured 
to turn their heads toward the fear of the Lord and this day we 
had a meeting in the Cabbin where my heart was contrite under 
a feeling of divine Love. 

Now concerning Lads being trained up as Seamen, I believe 
a communication from one part of the world to some other parts 
of it, by sea, is at times consistent with the will of our Heavenly 
Father; and to Educate some youth in the practice of Sailing, I 
believe may be right ; but how lamentable is the present corruption 
of the world ! How impure are the Channels through which trade 
hath a Conveyance! How great is that danger to which poor 
lads are now exposed, when placed on Shipboard to learn the Art 
of sailing! 

Five lads, training up for the Seas, were now on board this 
Ship, two of them brought up amongst our Society, one of which 
hath a right amongst friends, by name James Nailor, to whose 
father James Nailor "^ mentioned in Sewel's History, appears 
to have been uncle. I often feel a tenderness of heart toward 
these poor lads, and at times, look at them as though they were 
my Children according to the flesh. 

O that all may take heed and beware of Covetousness ! O 
that all may learn of Christ who is meek and low of Heart I Then 
in faithfully following him, he will teach us to be content with 
food and raiment, without respect to the customs of honours of 
this world. Men thus redeemed will feel a tender concern for 
their fellow creatures, and a desire that those in the lowest 
stations may be assisted and encouraged. And where owners 
of Ships attain to the perfect Law of Liberty, and are doers of 
the word these will be blessed in their deeds. 

A Ship at Sea commonly Sails all night, and the Seamen take 
their watches four hours at a time. Riseing to work in the night 
is not commonly pleasant in any case, but in dark rainey nights 
it is very disagreeable, even though each man were furnished with 
all conveniences, but if men must go out at midnight to help 
manage the Ship in the rain, and having small room to Sleep and 
lay their garments in, are often beset to furnish themselves for 
the watch ; their garments or something relating to their business 
being wanting, and not easily found; when from the urgency 


1772 293 

occasioned by high winds they are hastned and called up Suddenly, 
here is a trial of patience on the poor Sailors, and the poor lads 
their companions. 

If after they have been on deck several hours in the Night, and 
come dovifn into the Stearage Soaking wet, and are so close stowed 
that proper convenience for change of garments is not easiely 
come at, but for want of proper room their wet garments thrown 
in heaps, and sometimes through much crowding, are troden under 
foot in going to their lodgings and geting out of them, and great 
difficulties at times each one to find his own, here are trials on the 
poor sailors. 

Now as I have been with them in my lodge, my heart hath 
often yerned for them, and tender desires been raised in me that 
all owners and Masters of Vessels may dwell in the Love of 
God, and therein act uprightly, and by Seeking less for gain, and 
looking carefully to their ways may earnestly labour to remove all 
cause of provocation from the poor Seamen, either to fret or use 
excess of strong drink : for indeed the poor Creatures at times 
in the wet and cold seem to apply to strong drink to supply the 
want of other conveniences. 

Great reformation in the world is wanting! and the necessity 
of it, amongst those who do business on great waters, hath at 
this time been abundantly opened before me. 

da mo 

8:5: This morning the Clouds gathered, the wind blew Strong 
from south eastward, and before noon increased to that degree 
that Sailing appeared dangerous. The Seamen then bound up 
some of their Sails, took some down, and the Storm increasing, 
they put the dead lights, so called, into the Cabbin windows, and 
lighted a lamp as at Night. 

The wind now blew vehemently, and the Sea wrought to that 
degree that an awful seriousness prevailed in the Cabbin, in 
which I spent I believe about seventeen hours ; for I believed 
the poor wet toiling Seamen had need of all the room in the 
Crowded Stearage, and the Cabbin passengers had given me 
frequent invitations. 

They ceased now irom Sailing, and put the vessel in the 
posture called lying-too. 

My mind in this tempest, through the gracious Assistance of 


the Lord, was preserved in a good degree of resignation and I 
felt at times a few words in his love to my Ship mates, in regard 
to the All sufficiency of him who formed the great deep, and 
whose care is so extensive that a Sparrow falls not without his 
notice, and thus in a tender frame of mind spake to them of the 
necessity of our Yielding in true obedience, to the instructions of 
our heavenly Father, who sometimes through adversities intend- 
eth our refinement. 

About eleven at Night, I went out on the deck, when the Sea 
wrought exceedingly, and the high foaming waves all round 
about had in some sort the appearance of fire ; but did not give 
much if any light. The sailor then at the helm said he lately saw 
a Corposant ^ at the head of the Mast. 

About this time I observed the Master of the Ship ordered 
the Carpenter to keep on the deck ; and though he said little I 
apprehended his care was that the carpenter with his axe might 
be in readiness in case of any extremity. 

Soon after this the vehemency of the wind abated, and before 
morning they again put the Ship under Sail. 

da mo 

lo: 5: and first of the week, it being fine weather, we had a 
meeting in the Cabbin, at which most of the Sea men were 
present. This meeting to me was a Strengthening time. 

da mo 

13: 5: As I continue to lodge in the Stearage, I feel an 
openness this morning to express something further the state of 
my mind in respect to poor lads bound apprentice to learn the art 
of Sailing. As I believe sailing is of some use in the world, a 
labour of Soul attends me, that the pure Counsil of Truth may 
be humbly waited for in this case, by all concerned in the business 
of the Seas. 

A pious father whose mind is exercised for the everlasting 
welfare of his Child may not with a peaceful mind, place him 
out to an employment amongst a people, whose common course 
of life is manifestly corrupt & profane. So great is the present 

' Corposant, or St. Elmo's Fire — a luminous, flame-like appearance seen on 
dark or tempestuous nights, at the mast head or yardarm of a ship, caused by 
a discharge of electricity from elevated or pointed objects. Takes its name from 
St, Elmo, the patron Saint of Sailors, who are superstitious as to its appearance, 
Italian, corpo-santo ; holy body. [Webster.] 

XI 1772 295 

defect amongst Sea f areing men in regard to piety and virtue ; 
and through an abundant traffick, and many Ships of war, so 
many people are employed on the Sea that this Subject of placing 
lads to the employment appears very weighty. 

Profane examples are very corrupting, and very forcible. And 
as my mind, day after day, and night after night, hath been 
affected with a Sympathizing tenderness toward poor Children, 
put to the employment of sailors, I have sometimes had weighty 
Conversation with the Sailors in the Stearage, who were mostly 
respectful to me, and more and more so the longer I was with 
them. They mostly appeared to take kindly what I said to them, 
but their minds have appeared to be so deeply imprest with that 
almost universal depravity amongst Sailors, that the poor crea- 
tures in their answers to me on this Subject, have revived in my 
remembrance that of the degenerate Jews, a little before the Cap- 
tivity, as repeated by Jermiah the prophet. There is no hope. 

Now under this exercise a Sence of the desire of outward gain 
prevailing amongst us, hath felt grievous : and a strong call to 
the professed followers of Christ hath been raised in me that 
all may take heed, lest, through loving this present world, they 
be found in a continued neglect of duty with respect to a faithful 
labour for a reformation. 

Silence as to every motion proceeding from the Love of 
money, and an humble waiting upon God to know his will con- 
cerning us, hath now appeared necessary. He alone is able to 
Strengthen us to dig deep, to remove all which lies between us 
and the Safe foundation, and so direct us in our outward emplo)'- 
ments, that pure Universal Love may Shine forth in our pro- 

Desires arising from the Spirit of Truth are pure desires ; and 
when a mind Divinely opened toward a yoimg generation, is 
made Sensible of corrupting examples, powerfuly working, and 
extensively spreading amongst them how moving is the prospect. 
A great trade to the coast of Africa for slaves, of which I 
now heard frequent conversation amongst the sailors ! A great 
trade in that which is raised & prepared through grievous oppres- 
sion ! 

A great trade in Superfluity of workmanship, formed to 
please the pride and vanity of peoples minds ! 


Great and extensive is that depravity which prevails amongst 
the poor sailors ! When I remember that Saying of the Most High 
through his prophet, "This people have I formed for myself; 
they shall show forth my praise ;" ^ And think of placing chil- 
dren amongst them, to learn the practice of sailing, the consistency 
of it with a pious education seems to me like that mentioned by 
the prophet, "There is no answer from God." 

In a world of dangers and difficulties, like a thorny desolate 
wilderness, how precious ! how comfortable ! how safe 1 are the 
leadings of Christ the good shepherd, who said, "I know my 
sheep; and am known of mine." ^ 

da mo 

i6: 5 : 1772. Wind for several days past often high what the 
sailors call Squalley; rough sea & frequent rains. This last night 
a very trying night to the poor Seamen. The water chief part 
of the night running over the main deck, and Sometimes breaking 
waves came on the quarter deck. The latter part of the night, as 
I lay in bed, my mind was humbled under the power of divine 
love and Resignedness to the great Creator of the earth and the 
seas, renewedly wrought in me, whose fatherly care over his 
Children felt precious to my soul, and desires were now renewed 
in me, to embrace every opportunity of being inwardly acquainted 
with the hardships and difficulties of my fellow creatures, and to 
labour in his love for the spreading of pure universal Righteous- 
ness in the Earth. The oportunities being frequent of hearing 
conversation amongst the Sailors, in respect to the voiges to 
Africa, and the manner of bringing the deeply oppressed slaves 
into our islands. The thoughts of their condition, frequently 
in Chains and fetters on board the Vessels, with hearts loaded 
with grief, under the apprehensions of miserable Slavery; my 
mind was frequently opened to meditate on these things. [My 
own lodging, now in the Stearage, with the advantage of walk- 
ing the deck when I would, appear'd a comodious Scituation 
compard with theirs.] ^ 

^ Note by Woolman — "y® Chap*.?" , 

^ Note by Woolman — "y" Chap*.?" 
These references have not been filled in. 

■ This sentence has been omitted by the first editors and consequently by those 

XI 1772 297 

da mo 

17:5: and first of the week, we had a meeting in the Cabbin to 
which the Seamen generally came. My Spirit was contrite before 
the Lord, whose Love at this time affected my heart. 

This afternoon I felt a tender Sympathy of Soul with my 
poor wife and family left behind, in which state my heart was 
enlarged in desires that they may walk in that humble Obedience, 
wherein the everlasting Father may be their guide and Support 
through all the difficulties in this world: and a Sence of that 
gracious Assistance, through which my mind hath been strength- 
ened to take up the cross and leave them to travel in the love of 
truth, hath begotten thankfulness in my heart to our [great] 

da mo 

24 : 5 : and first of the week, a Clear pleasant morning, and as 
I sat on deck I felt a reviving' in my nature, which through much 
rainey weather & high winds, being shut up in a close unhealthy 
air, was weakened. 

Several nights of late I felt breathing difficult, that a little 
after the rising of the second watch (which is about midnight) 
I got up and stood, I believe, near an hour with my face near 
the hatchway, to get the fresh air at a small vacancy under the 
hatch door, which is commonly shut down, partly to keep out 
rain, and sometimes to keep the breaking waves from dashing 
into the Stearage. 

I may with thankfulness to the Father of mercies acknowl- 
edge, that in my present weak state, my mind hath been Sup- 
ported to bear the affliction with patience ; and I have looked 
at the present dispensation as a kindness from the Great Father 
of Mankind who in this my floating pilgrimage, is in some de- 
gree bringing me to feel that which many thousands of my fellow 
creatures often Suffer in a greater degree. 

My Appetite faifing, the tryal hath been the heavier, and I 
have felt tender breathings in my soul after God the fountain of 
Comfort, whose inward help hath supplied, at times, the want of 
outward convenience, and strong desires have attended me that 
his family who are acquainted with the movings of his holy Spirit 
may be so redeemed from the love of money, and from that Spirit 
in which men seek honour one of another, that in all business by 


Sea or land we may constantly keep in view the coming of his 
kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven, and by faithfully following 
this safe guide, may show forth examples, tending to lead out 
of that under which the Creation Groans ! 

This day we had a meeting in the Cabbin in which I was 
favoured in some degree to experience the fulfilling of that say- 
ing of the prophet, "The Lord hath been a strength to the poor, 
a strength to the needy in their distress," for which my heart is 
bowed in thankfulness before him.^ 

da mo 

28 : 5 : Wet weather of late, with small winds Inclineing to 
calms. Our Seamen having cast a lead, I suppose about one 
hundred fathom, but find no bottom. Foggy weather this morn- 

Through the kindness of the great Preserver of men, my 
mind remains quiet, and a degree of exercise from day to day 
attends me that the pure peaceable Government of Christ may 
spread and prevail amongst mankind. 

The leading on of a young generation in that pure way, in 
which the wisdom of this world hath no place ; where parents 
and tutors, humbly waiting for the heavenly Counsellor, may 
example them in the Truth, as it is in Jesus. This for several 
days hath been the Exercise of my mind. O how safe, how quiet 
is that State where the Soul stands in pure Obedience to the 
Voice of Christ and a watchful care is maintained not to follow 
the voice of the Stranger. Here Christ is felt to be our shep- 
herd, and under his leading people are brought to a Stability. 
And where he doth not lead forward, we are bound in the bonds 
of pure love to Stand Still and wait upon [him.] 

In the love of money, and the wisdom of this world, business 
is proposed, then the urgency of Affairs push foi-ward, nor can 
the mind in this state discern the good and perfect will of God 
concerning us. 

The love of God is manifested in graciously calHng us to 
come out of that which Stands in Confusion, but if we [bow 
not in the name of Jesus], li we give not up those prospects of 
gain which in the wisdom of this world are open before us, but 
say in our hearts I must needs go on ; and in going on I hope to 

^ Note by John Woolman, "y** Chap*. & Verse." 

XI 1772 299 

keep as near to the purity of Truth as the business before me 
will admit of, here the mind remains entangled, and the Shine- 
ing of the Light of life into the Soul is obstructed. 

This query opens in my mind in the love of [Christ.] Where 
shall a pious father place his son apprentice to be instructed in 
the practice of Crossing the Seas, and have faith to believe 
that Christ our holy Shepherd leads him to place his son 
there ? 

Surely the Lord calls to mourning and deep humiliation, 
that in his fear we may be instructed, and lead safely on through 
the great difficulties and perplexities in this present age. 

In an entire Subjection of our wills, the Lord graciously 
opens a way for his people, where all their wants are bounded by 
his wisdom : and here we experience the Substance of what Moses 
the Prophet figured out in the water of Seperation, as a purifi- 
cation from sin. 

Esau is mentioned as a Child red all over, like a hairy gar- 
ment. In Esau is represented the natural will of man. In pre- 
paring the water of Seperation, A red heipher without blemish, 
on which there had been no yoak was to be Slain, and her blood 
Sprinkled by the priest seven times toward the tabernacle of the 
Congregation. Then her skin her flesh and all pertaining to her 
was to be burnt without the Camp, and of her ashes the water 
was prepared. Thus the Crucifying the old man, or natural 
will, is represented, and hence comes a Separation from that 
Carnal mind which is death. 

"He who toucheth the dead body of a man, and purifieth not 
himself with the water of Separation, he defileth the tabernacle 
of the Lord, he is unclean." Numbers XIX. 13. 

If [one] through the love of gain, go forth into business, 
wherein they dwell as amongst the Tombs, [Isaiah ch. v.] and 
touch the bodies of those who are dead. If these through the In- 
finite Love of God, feel the power of the Cross of Christ to Crucify 
them to the world, and therein learn humbly to follow the divine 
leader, here is the judgment of this world here the prince of this 
world is Cast out. The water of separation is felt, and though 
we have Been amongst the Slain, and through the desire of gain 
have touched the dead body of a man, yet in the purifying love 
of [Christ,] we are washed in the water of Seperation, are 


brought off from that business, from that gain, and from that 
fellowship, which was not agreeable to His holy will. And I 
have felt a renewed confirmation in the time of this voiage, that 
the Lord, in his infinite love, is calling to his Visited Children 
so to give up all outward possessions and means of geting treas- 
ures, that his holy Spirit may have free course in their hearts, 
and direct them in all their proceedings. 

To feel the substance pointed at in this figure, man must know 
death, as to his own will. 

"No man can see God, and live:" this was spoken by the 
Almighty to Moses the prophet; and opened by our blessed Re- 

As death comes on our own wiljs, and a new life is formed 
in us, the heart is purified, and prepared to understand clearly. 
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." In 
purity of heart the mind is divinely opened, to behold the nature 
of Universal Righteousness, or the Righteousness of the king- 
dom of God. No man hath seen the Father, save he that is of God ; 
he hath seen the Father.^ 

The natural mind is active about the things of this life, and 
in this natural activity, business is proposed, and a will in us to 
go forward in it. And as long as this natural will remains un- 
subjected, so long there remains an obstruction against the clear- 
ness of divine light operating in us, but when we love God with 
all our heart, and with all our Strength, then, in this love, we 
love our Neighbours as our Selves, and a tenderness of heart 
is felt toward all people, [for wlioni Christ died] - even such 
who as to outward circumstances may be to us as the Jews were 
to the Samaritans. Who is my neighbour? See this question 
answered [by our Saviour — Chap. V.] ^ 

In this Love we can say that Jesus is the Lord ; and the re- 
formation in our souls is manifested in a full reformation of our 
lives, wherein all things are new, and all things are of God. 
(c. V.) In this the desire of gain is subjected, employment 
is honestly followed in the Light of Truth, and people become 
diligent in business, fervent in spirit ; serving the Lord : [chap. 

^ Note by John Woolman — "Chapt. & Verse?" 
^ Omitted by John Comly, Edit.. 1837, P- 170. 
^ The reference is to Luke X, 36, 37. 

XI 1772 30I 

v.] Here the name is opened : This is the name by which he shall 

O how precious is this name ! It is like ointment poured out. 
The Chaste Virgin is in love with the Redeemer, and for the 
promoting his peaceable kingdom in the world, are content to 
endure hardness like good Soldiers, and are so separated in 
Spirit from the desire of Riches, that in their employments, they 
become extensively careful to give none offence, neither to Jews 
nor heathens, nor the Church of Christ. 

da mo - 

31:5: and first of the week, had a meeting in the Cabbin, with 
nearly -all the Ships Company ; the whole being near thirty. In 
this meeting, the Lord in mercy favoured us with the extend- 
ings of his love. 

da mo 

2:6: 1772 last evening the Seamen found bottom at about 
70 fathom. 

This morning fair wind and pleasant, and as I sat on deck, 
my heart was overcome with the love of God, and melted into 
contrition before him, and in this state, the prospect of that work 
to which I [have] felt my mind drawn when in my Native land, 
being in some degree opened before me, I felt like a little child, 
and my cries were put up to my Heavenly Father for preserva- 
tion, that in a humble dependence on him, my Soul may be 
Strengthened in his love, and kept inwardly waiting for his 

This afternoon we saw that part of England, called the Lizard. 

Some dunghill fowls yet remained of those the passengers 
took for their [eating] I believe about 14 perished in the Storms 
at Sea, by the waves breaking over the quarter-deck; and a con- 
siderable number with sickness, at different times. I observed 
the Cocks crew coming dov^m Delaware, & while we were near 
the land ; but afterward I think I did not hear one of them Crow 
till we came near the land in England, when they again crowed, 
a few times. 

In Observing their dull appearance at Sea, and the pineing 
sickness of some of them, I once remembered the Fountain of 
goodness, who gave being to all creatures, and whose love ex- 
tends to that of careing for the Sparrows, and believe where the 


love of God is verily perfected, & the true Spirit of government 
watchfully attended to a tenderness toward all creatures made 
Subject to us will be experienced & a care felt in us that we do 
not lessen that Sweetness of life in the animal Creation, which 
the great Creator intends for them under our government, [and 
believe a less number carried off to eat at Sea may be more 
agreeable to the pure wisdom.] ^ 

da mo 

4:6: 1772 Wet weather, high winds, and so dark that we 
could see but a little way. I perceived our seamen were ap- 
prehensive of danger of missing the Channel, which I under- 
stood was narrow. In a while it grew lighter, and they saw the 
land, and knew where we were [at which sight I discerned a 
visible alteration in the Countenances of Several, who appeared 
very thankful.] ^ Thus the Father of mercies was pleased to 
try us with the Sight of dangers, and then graciously, from time 
to time deliver from them, thus Sparing our lives that in humil- 
ity and Reverence we may walk before him, and put our trust 
in him. 

About noon a pilot came of from Dover where my beloved 
friend Samuel Emlen'' [& Sarah] ""^ went on Shore, and to 
London, about ^2. miles by land, but I felt easie in staying in the 

da mo st 

7: 6: & I. of the week. Clear morning, lay at anchor for 
the tide, and had a parting meeting with the Ships Company, in 
which my heart was enlarged in a fervent concern for them 
that they may come to experience salvation through Christ. Had 
a head wind up the thames, lay sometimes at Anchor, saw many 
ships passing, and some at anchor near, and had large oppor- 
tunity of feeling the spirit in which the poor bewildered Sailors too 
generally live. That Lamentable degeneracy, which so much 
prevails among the people employed on the Seas, so affected my 
heart that I may not easily convey the feeling I have had to 

The present state of the sea-faring life in general, appears 

* This has been omitted by first Editors. 

2 Erased with the pen on each line, by editors, 

" Sarah Logan. 

XI • 1772 303 

so opposite to that of a pious education. So full of Corruption, 
and extreme alienation from God. So full of examples, the most 
dangerous to young people, that in looking toward a young gen- 
eration I feel a care for them, that they may have an education 
different from the present Education of Lads at Sea : And that 
all of us who are acquainted with the pure Gospel Spirit, may 
lay this case to heart, may remember the lamentable Corrup- 
tions which attend the conveyance of merchandize across the 
Seas; and so abide in the love of [Christ] that, being delivered 
from the love of money, from the entangling expenses of a curi- 
ous, delicate, luxurious life, [that] we may learn Contentment 
with a little, and promote the Sea farcing life no further than 
the Spirit which leads into all Truth, attends us in our pro- 

At this end of the Journal of the Voyage, on the fifth day 
after landing, is the following note by John Wonlman ; the 
endorsement is on the back of the blue cover of the outside. It 
has been crossed off with two strokes of the pen, by the first 
editors. Sophia Hume "° was then living in London. 

da mo 
13: 6: 1772. 
"I commit these notes to the care and keeping of Sophia Hume, 
and if she hath a mind to revise them, and place them in better order, 
I am free to it ; but I desire she may not shew them to any one, but 
with a very weighty Consideration. 

John Woolman." 

The remaining portion of the Journal in England has been 
written on similar paper and afterward stitched in with that re- 
lating to the voyage. 


da mo 

8:6: 1772 Landed at London & went Straitway to the yearly 
meeting of Ministers and Elders, which had been gathered (I 
suppose) half an hour. 

In this meeting, my mind was humbly contrite. Afternoon 
meeting of business opened, which by adjournments, held near 
a week. In these meetings, I often felt a living concern for the 
Establishment of Eriends in the pure life of Truth and my heart 
was Enlarged in the meeting of Ministers, Meeting of business, 
and in Several meetings for publick worship, & I felt my mind 
united in true love to the faithful labourers, now gathered [from 
the several parts of] this Yearly Meeting. 

da mo 

15: 6: left London, and went to a quarterly meeting in 

da mo 

1: y: 1772. have been at quarterly meetings at Sherrington, at 
Northampton, at Banbury and at Shipton, and had sundry meet- 
ings between. My mind hath been bowed under a Sence of di- 
vine goodness manifested amongst us ; and my heart hath often 
been enlarged in true love, both amongst Ministers and Elders, 
and in public meetings. That through the Lords goodness I be- 
lieve it hath been a fresh Visitation to many, in particular to 
the Youth. 

da mo 

17: 7: Was this day at Birmingham had been at Coventry, at 
Warwick, [and have been at Meetings in Oxfordshire &] sundry 
other places ; have felt the humbling hand of the Lord upon me, 

^ J. Woolnian has made a note at top of page, "P. Cliarron, on Gold. Wm. 
Pen's Works. 83 page." 


XII 1772 305 

and through his tender mercies find peace in the labours I have 
gone through, 
da mo 

26 : 7 : 1772 have continued travelhng northward, visiting meet- 
ings ; was this day at Nottingham which in the forenoon espe- 
cially was through divine Love, a heart-tendering Season : next 
day had a Meeting in a friends house with friends Children & 
some friends, this, through the Strengthening arm of the Lord, 
\vas a time to be thankfully remembered, 
da mo 

2:8: 1st of week was this day at Sheffield, a large inland town 
have been at Sundry meetings last week and feel inward thank- 
fulness for that Divine support which hath been graciously ex- 
tended to me. 
da mo 

9:8: 1st of week was at Rushworth have lately passed through 
some painful labour, but have been comforted, under a sence of 
that divine \"isitation which I feel extended toward many young 
da mo 

16:8: and first of the week, was at Settle. It hath of late 
been a time of inward poverty, under which my mind hath been 
preserved in a watchful tender state, feeling for the mind of the 
holy leader, and find peace in the labours I have passed through. 


On Enquiry in many places I find the price of Rie about 5, 

s. s. 

wheat about 8, p. bushel, Oatmeal, 12 for 120 pound, mutton, 

d d d d d d 

from 3 to 5 per pound, bacon from 7 to 9. Cheese from 4 to 6 

d d s s 

butter from 8 to 10 house rent for a poor man from 25 to 40 

per 3'ear to be paid weekly, wood for fire very scarce and dear, 

s d 

Coal some places. 2 6 per hundred weight, but near the pits, 

not a quarter so much. O may the wealthy consider the poor ! 

The wages of labouring men in several Counties toward 


London, 10 per day in common business, the Employer finds 


Small beer, and the labourer finds his own food ; but in harvest 

& hay time wages is about I and the Labourer hath all his diet. 
In some parts of the North of England, poor labouring men have 
their food where they work ; and appear in common to do rather 
better than nearer London. Industrious women who Spin in the 

d d d d d d d 

factories get some 4, some 5, & so on 6. 7. 8. 9 or 10 a day, and 
find their own house room & diet. Great numbers of poor people 
live chiefly on bread and water in the Southern parts of England, 
and some in the Northern parts, and there are many poor Chil- 
dren not taught even to Read. May those who have plenty, lay 
these things to heart! 

Stage Coaches frequently go upwards of a hundred miles in 
24 hours, and I have heard friends say, in several places that it 
is common for horses to be killed with hard driving, and many 
others are driven till they grow blind. [These Coaches runing 
chief part of the Night, do often run over & hurt people in the 

Post boys pursue their business, each one to his Stage, all 
night through the winter. Some boys who ride long Stages suf- 
fer greatly in winter nights and at several places I have heard of 
their being froze to death. So great is the hurry in the Spirit of 
this world, that in aiming to do business quick, and to gain wealth, 
the Creation at this day doth loudly groan ! 

As my journey hath been without a horse I have had several 
offers of being assisted on my way in these Stage Coaches but 
have not been in them nor have I had freedom to send letters 
by these posts, in the present way of their riding, the stages be- 
ing so fixed and one body dependant on another as to time, that 
they commonly go upward of lOO miles in 24 hours, and in the cold 
long winter nights, the poor boys sufl^er much. 

I heard in America of the way of these posts, and cautioned 
friends in the general meeting of Ministers and Elders at philada 
and in the yearly meeting of Ministers and Elders at London, 
not to send letters to me on any common occasion by post. And 
though on this account I may be likely to hear Seldomer from 
the family I left behind, yet for Righteousness Sake I am through 
Divine favour made content. 

XII 1772 307 

I have felt great distress of mind since I came on tliis Island 
on account of the members of our Society being mixed with the 
world in various Sorts of business and traffick carried on in im- 
pure Channels. Great is the trade to Africa for Slaves ! and in 
loading these Ships, abundance of people are employed in the 
factories amongst whom are many of our society ! Friends in 
Early times refused on a religious principle to make or trade in 
Superfluities, of which we have many large testimonies on record, 
but for want of faithfulness some gave way ; even some whose 
examples were of note in Society, and from thence others took 
more liberty. Members of our society worked in Supei"fluities, 
and bought and Sold them, and thus dimness of sight came over 
many. At length friends got into the use of Some Superfluities 
in dress, and in the furniture of their houses, and this hath spread 
from less to more, till Superfluity of some kinds is common 
amongst us. 

In this declining State many look at the examples one of an- 
other, and too much neglect the pure feeling of Truth. Of late 
years [this increasing,] a deep exercise hath attended my mind, 
that friends may dig deep, may carefully cast forth the loose 
matter, and get down to the Rock, the Sure foundation, and 
there hearken to that divine voice which gives a Clear & certain 
Sound, and I have felt in that which doth not deceive, that if 
friends who have known the Truth, keep in that tenderness of 
heart, where all views of outward gain are given up, and their 
trust is only in the Lord, He will graciously lead some to be pat- 
terns of deep Self denial in things relating to trade and handi- 
craft labour, and that some who have plenty of the treasures of 
this world, will example in a plain, frugal life, and pay wages to 
such whom they may hire, more liberally than is now customary 
in some places.^ 

23 : 8 : Was this day at preston-patrick [here I dream'd of 
Mother,] and had a comfortable meeting. I have several times 
been entertained at the houses of friends vi^ho had sundry things 

' In the margin of this page is written thus, 

"Seal words with silence 1 Chuse well and hold fast 1 , , , 
a ^^ W .■ t, vbold; learn to 

natter no man . . , , f use time well ....(. . . . . ,, 
' ' forgive injuries. 

The sentences suggest copy-book headings, which in all probability they are. 


about them which had the appearance of outward greatness, and 
as I have kept inward way hath opened for Conversation in 
private in which divine Goodness hath favoured us together with 
heart tendering times. 

A deviation amongst us as a Society from the SimpHcity that 
there is in Christ becoming so general; and the trade from this 
Island to Africa for Slaves, and other trades carried on through 
oppressive Channels and abundance of the Inhabitants being em- 
ployed in factories to Support a trade in which there is un- 
righteousness, and Some growing outwardly great by gain of this 
Sort. The weight of this degeneracy hath lain so heavy upon 
me, the depth of this revolt, been so evident, and desires in my 
heart been so ardent for a reformation, that we may come 
to that right use of things, where liveing on a little we may in- 
habit that holy Mountain, in which they neither hurt nor destroy! 
and may not only Stand clear from oppressing our fellow-crea- 
tures, but may be so disentangled from connexions in Interest 
with known oppressors, that in us may be fulfilled that prophecie, 
Thou sltalt he far from oppression. 

Under the weight of this exercise the sight of innocent birds 
in the branches and sheep in the pastures, who are according to 
the will of their Creator, hath at times tended to mitigate my 

da mo 

26: 8: 1772 being now at George Crosfields ^* in Westmore- 
land [county in England,] I feel a concern to commit to writing 
that which to me hath been a Case uncommon. 

In a time of Sickness with the plurisie,^ a little upward of 
two years and a half ago I was brought so Near the gates of 
death, that I forgot my name, being then desirous to know who 
I was, I saw a mass of matter of a dull gloomy collour, between 
the South and the East, and was informed that this mass was 
human beings, in as great misery as they could be, & live, and 
that I was mixed in with them, & henceforth I might not con- 
sider myself as a distinct or Separate being. In this state I re- 
mained several hours. I then heard a soft melodious voice, more 
pure and harmonious than any voice I had heard with my ears 
before, and I believed it was the voice of an angel who spake 

^ See page 285, where this illness is more fully described, at date of occurrence. 

XII 1772 309 

to the other angels. The words were John Woolman is dead. 
I soon remembered that I once was John Woolman, and being 
assured that I was alive in the body, I greatly wondered what that 
heavenly voice could mean. 

I believed beyond doubting that it was the voice of an holy 
Angel, but as yet it was a mystery to me. 

I was then carried in Spirit to the mines, where poor Op- 
pressed people were digging rich treasures for those called Chris- 
tians, and heard them blaspheme the name of Christ, at which 
I was grieved for his Name to me was precious. 

Then I was informed that these heathen were told that those 
who oppressed them were the followers of Christ; and they said 
amongst themselves. If Christ directed them to use us in this 
Sort then Christ is a cruel tyrant. 

All this time the Song of the Angel remained a Mystery, and 
in the morning my dear wife and some others coming to my bed- 
side I asked them if they knew who I was, and they telling me 
I was John Woolman, thought I was only light-headed, for I 
told them not what the Angel said, nor was I disposed to talk 
much to any one ; but was very desirous to get so deep that I 
might understand this Mystery. 

My tongue was often so dry that I could not speak till I had 
moved it about and gathered some moisture, and as I lay still for 
a time, at length I felt divine power prepare my mouth that I 
could speak, and then I said, 'I am crucified with Christ, never- 
theless I live yet not I, but Christ [that] liveth in me, and the 
life I now live in the flesh is by faith [in] the Son of God who 
loved me and gave himself for me." 

Then the Mystery was opened and I perceived there was 
Joy in heaven over a Sinner who had repented, and that that 
language, John Woolman is dead, meant no more than the death 
of my own will. 

Soon after this I coughed and raised much bloody matter, 
which I had not during this Vision, and now my natural under- 
standing returned as before. Here I saw, that people geting Sil- 
ver Vessels to set of their Tables at entertainments was often 
stained with worldly Glory, and that in the present state of 
things, I should take heed how I fed myself from out of Silver 


Soon after my recovery I going to our monthly ^ meeting 
dined at a friends house where drink was brought in Silver Ves- 
sels and not in any other, and I wanting some drink told him my 
case with weeping, and he ordered some drink for me in another 

The like I afterwards went through in several friends houses 
in America, and have also in England, since I came here, and 
have cause with humble reverence to acknowledge the loving 
kindness of my heavenly Father, who hath preserved me in such 
a tender frame of mind, that none, I believe, have ever been of- 
fended at what I have said on that Occasion. [John Woolman.] 

After this sickness I spake not in public meetings for wor- 
ship for near one year, but my mind was very often in company 
with the oppressed slaves as I sat in meetings, and [it was to me 
a time of] abundance of weeping [and tho' I think I never felt 
the spring of the ministry Opened in me more powerfully.] ^ It 
being so long since I passed through this dispensation and the 
matter remaining fresh and livingly in my mind I believe it safest 
for me to commit it to writing. 

da mo 

30: 8: 1772 This morning I wrote a letter in substance as 
follows ' 

Beloved friend. 

My mind is often affected as I pass along, under a sense of the 
state of many poor people, who sit under that sort of ministry which 
requires much outward labour to support it; And the loving kind- 
ness of our heavenly Father in opening a pure gospel Ministry in this 
nation hath often raised thankfulness in my heart toward him. I 
often remember the Conflicts of the faithful under persecution, and 
now look at the free exercise of the pure gift uninterrupted by out- 
ward laws as a trust committed to us, which requires our deepest 
gratitude, and most careful attention. I feel a tender concern that 
the work of reformation so prosperously carried on in this land 

^ Burlington, New Jersey. Probably at John Smjtli's.^'* 

^ In a fine running hand, overleaf, is the following completion of this paragraph. 
"And though under this dispensation I was shut up from speaking, yet the 
Spring of the Gospel Ministry was many times livingly open'd in me & the divine 
Gift operated by abundance of weeping in feeling the oppression of this People." 
A note is added by William Tuke: "By J. W.'s order in his illness, the above to 
stand instead of that wrote in the margin on the other side of this page." 

^ This letter was written to Rachel Wilson, wife of Isaac, of Kendal, then absent 
on a preaching tour. [See Biog. Note 66.] 

XII 1772 3^1 

within a few ages past may go forward and spread amongst the 
nations, and may not go backward through dust gathering on our 
garments, wlio have been called to a work so great and so precious. 

Last evening I had a little oportunity at thy house, with some of 
thy family in thy absence, in which I rejoyced, and feeling a Sweet- 
ness on my mind toward thee I now endeavour to open a little of 
the feeling I had there. 

I have heard that you in these parts have, at certain Seasons 
meetings of Gonferrence, in relation to friends living up to our 
principles in which several meetings unite in one, with which 1 feel 
unity : I having in some measure felt Truth lead that way amongst 
friends in America; and have found my dear friend, that, in these 
labours, all Superfluities in our own living are against us. I feel 
that pure love toward thee in which there is freedom. 

I look at that precious gift bestowed on thee, with Awfulness 
before Him who gave it and feel a care that we may be so Sepa- 
rated to the gospel of Christ that those things which proceed from 
the Spirit of this world may have no place amongst us. thy fr'' 


I rested a few days in body and mind with our friend Jane 
Crosfield,^* who was once in America : was on Sixth day of 
the week at Kendal in Westmoreland and at Greyrig meeting 

da mo 
the 30 : 8 : and first of the week. 

I have known poverty of late, and been graciously Supported 
to keep in the patience, and am thankful under a sense of the good- 
ness of the Lord toward those that are of a contrite Spirit. 

da mo 

6: 9: I of week. Was this day at Counterside, a large meet- 
ing house, and very full, and through the opening of pure love 
it was a Strengthening time to me, and I beheve to many more. 

da mo 

13: 9: Was this day at Richmond, a small meeting, but the 
town's people coming in, the house was crowded. It was a time 
of heavy labour, and I believe was a profitable meeting. 

[When I was at Richmond, I being now in Yorkshire,] I 
heard that my kinsman William Hunt " from North Carolina 
who was on a religious visit to Friends in England, departed this 
life on the 9th day of the 9th month instant of the small-pox, at 
Newcastle. He appear'd in the ministry when a youth, and his 


labours therein were of good savour. He travell'd much in that 
work in America. I once heard him say in public testimony that his 
concern was in that visit to be devoted to the service of Christ 
so fully that he might not spend one minute in pleasing himself, 
which words, joined with his example was a means of stirring 
up the pure mind in me.'^ 

Having of late travelled often in wet weather, through nar- 
row streets in towns & villages, where was dirtiness under foot, 
and the scent arising from that Filth which more or less infects 
the air of all thick settled towns, and I being but weakly, have 
felt distress both in body and mind with that which is impure. 
In these journeys I have been where much cloath hath been 
dyed, and sundry times have walked over ground where much of 
their die stuffs have drained away. 

Here I have felt a longing in my mind, that people might 
come into Cleanness of spirit. Cleanness of person. Cleanness 
about their houses and Garments. 

Some who are great, carry delicacy to a great hight them- 
selves, and yet the real cleanliness is not generally promoted. 
Dies being invented partly to please the Eye, and part to hide 
dirt, I have felt in this weak state, travelling in dirtiness and 
affected with unwholesome Scents, a strong desire that the na- 
ture of dicing cloth to hide dirt may be more fully considered. 
To hide dirt in our gaiTnents appears opposite to the real 

To wash garments, and keep them sweet, this appears cleanly. 
Through giving way to hiding dirt in our garments, a Spirit 
which would cover that which is disagreeable is strengthened. 

Real cleanness becometh a holy people, but hiding that which 
is not clean by colouring our garments appears contrary to the 
Sweetness of Sincerity. 

Through some Sorts of dies, Cloath is less useful: and if the 
value of die stuffs, the expense of dicing, and the damage done to 
Cloath, were all added together and that expense applied to keep 
all sweet and clean, how much more cleanly would people be ! 

[Near large towns there are many beasts Slain to Supply the 
Market & from their Blood & filth ariseth that which mixeth 
in the Air: this with the Cleaning of many Stables & other 

' The ink in this paragraph has nearly faded out. ' 

XII 1772 313 

Scents in the Air in Citties in a Calm, wetish time, is so oppo- 
site to the clean pure Country air that I think even the Minds 
of people are in some degree hindered from the pure Operation 
of the Holy Spirit, where they breathe a great deal in it. 

With God, all things are possible, and the Sincere in heart 
find help under the greatest difficulties, but I believe if Truth 
be singly adhered to, way may be Open'd for some to live a 
Country life, who are now in Citties.] ^ 


On - this visit to England I have felt some instructions sealed 
on my mind, which I am concerned to leave in writing, for the 
use of such who are called to the station of a minister of Christ. 

Christ being the Prince of Peace, and we being no more than 
ministers, I find it necessary for us, not only to feel a concern in 
our first going forth, but to experience the renewing thereof in 
the appointment of meetings. 

^ This paragraph, from one of the last pages of the English Journal, has been 
omitted in all previous editions. The first edition [1774] has, however, the catch- 
word "Near" at bottom, of page 240, while the paragraph at top of page 241 opens 
with, "on this visit/* &c., conclusively proving that the original Manuscript was 
in use, and that the omission was made after the type was set up and printed. 

Below is a curious waif, which fits in here like a mosaic. Note on fly leaf of 
Dublin Edit. (1776) of Woolman's Journal, owned by Mary Awmack, & given 
by E. C. Jellett, of Germantown, to The Woolman Memorial in Mount Holly, N. J. 
in 1918. 

"As I have the following Memorandum in John Woolman's own hand- 
writing, tho't it not improper to insert it here, as it is left out in the following 

*'i7^^ day of 9'^'' rao. was at Thirsk. Many of the towns people coming in, the 
house was much crowded amongst whom my heart was enlarged & the gospel love 
flowed forth toward them. 

"On the 20^^ come from Wm. Martins to Huby attended the meeting there went 
to John Johnson's to diner, after which Came to James Hersey's at Towthorp, near 
York & to York the 21st: attended the Select meeting next day the Quarterly meeting 
for Worship & discipline, Except the last." 

This note appears valuable, but is so far unexplained, as to its source. The 
writer may have possessed a lost leaf. 

2 This brief little Essay forms the concluding section of the English Journal. 
It was probably written by John Woolman in the leisure of the few days rest 
which he took in "body and mind" at the hospitable home of George and Jane Crosfield, 
It is retained here, apart from the Essays, as a portion of the Journal proper, 
because of personal references, and the light which it casts upon Woolman's travels 
and his state of mind. A copy remains, with its separate heading, at Almery Garth, 
with the other English essays, and it has also been printed as a separate pamphlet, 
of which a copy is in the library of Haverford College, Pa. The first edition is 
followed In this arrangement. Compare also, Woolman's remarks on the same subject 
in 1760. 


I felt a concern in America, to prepare for this voyage; and 
being through the mercy of God brought safe here, my heart 
was Hke a vessel that wanted vent; and for several weeks at 
first, when my mouth was opened in meetings, it often felt like 
the raising of a gate in a water course, where a weight of water 
lay upon it ; and in these labours there appeared a fresh visita- 
tion of love to many, especially the youth. But some time after 
this, I felt empty and poor, and yet felt a necessity to appoint 

In this state I was exercised to abide in the pure life of Truth, 
and in all my labours to watch diligently against the motions of 
self in my own mind. 

I have frequently felt a necessity to stand up, when the spring 
of the ministry was low, and to speak from the necessity, in that 
which subjecteth the will of the creature; and herein I was 
united with the suffering seed, and found inward sweetness in 
these mortifying labours. 

As I have been preserved in a watchful attention to the Divine 
leader under these dispensations, enlargement at times hath fol- 
lowed, and the power of Truth hath rose higher in some meet- 
ings, than I ever knew it before through me. 

Thus I have been more and more instructed, as to the neces- 
sity of depending, not upon a concern which I felt in America to 
come on a visit to England, but upon the fresh instructions of 
Christ, the prince of peace, from day to day. 

Now of late, I have felt a stop in the appointment of meet- 
ings, not wholly but in part ; and I do not feel liberty to appoint 
them so quick one after another as I have heretofore, [and I feel 
thankful that I have not noise with me in these slow proceedings.] 

The work of the ministry being a work of Divine love, I feel 
that the openings thereof are to be waited for, in all our appoint- 

Oh ! how deep is Divine wisdom ! Christ puts forth his minis- 
ters, and goeth before them ; and Oh ! how great is the danger of 
departing from the pure feeling of that which leadeth safely ! 

Christ knoweth the state of the people, and in the pure feel- 
ing of the gospel ministry, their states are opened to his servants. 

Christ knoweth when the fruit-bearing branches themselves 
have need of purging. 

XII 1772 3^5 

Oh ! that these lessons may be remembered by me ! and that all 

who appoint meetings, may proceed in the pure feeling of duty. 

I have sometimes felt a necessity to stand up; but that spirit 
which is of the world hath so much prevailed in many, and the 
pure life of Truth been so pressed down, that I have gone for- 
ward, not as one travelling in a road cast up, and well prepared, 
but as a man walking through a miry place, in which are stones 
here and there, safe to step on; but so situated that one step be- 
ing taken, time is necessary to see where to step next. 

Now I find that in pure obedience the mind learns contentment 
in appearing weak and foohsh to that wisdom which is of the 
world : and in these lowly labours, they who stand in a low 
place, rightly exercised under the cross, will find nourishment. 

The gift is pure; and while the eye is single in attending 
thereto, the understanding is preserved clear; self is kept out; 
and we rejoice in filling up that which remains of the afflictions 
of Christ for his body's sake, which is the church. 

The natural man loveth eloquence, and many love to hear 
eloquent orations : and if there is not a careful attention to the 
gift men who have once laboured in the pure gospel ministry, 
growing weary of suffering, and ashamed of appearing weak, 
may kindle a fire, compass themselves about with sparks, and 
walk in the light, — not of Christ who is under suffering, — but 
of that fire which they, going from the gift, have kindled: And 
that in hearers, which is gone from the meek suffering state, into 
the worldly wisdom, may be warmed with this fire, and speak 
highly of these labours, ["and thus the false Prophet in man 
may form likenesses & his coming may be with Signs and Won- 
ders and lying Miracles ; but the Sorcerers, however powerful — 
they remain without in Company with the Idolaters and Adul- 
terers."] That which is of God gathers to God ; and that which is 
of the world is owned by the world. 

In this journey a labour hath attended my mind, that the 
ministers amongst us may be preserved in the meek feeling life 
of Truth, where we have no desire but to follow Christ and be 
with him ; that when he is under suffering we may suffer with 
him; and never desire to rise up in dominion, but as he by the 
virtue of his own Spirit may raise us. 



At this point ends the Journal proper of John Woolman. The 
following portion, usually given in previous editions as the con- 
cluding pages of the narrative, describing his illness and death, 
demands further explanation. 

Thomas Priestman "" and his wife, in whose house at York 
John Woolman died, together with William "* and Esther Tuke,*' 
their intimate friends, were his constant attendants. As the for- 
mer states in his own Journal, he and William Tuke "minuted 
down" all of the dying man's expressions, and kept a record of 
every occurrance during the thirteen days of his illness. Thomas 
Priestman's Journal and this record are still in existence, and 
through the courtesy of Malcolm Spence, the late owner of 
Almery Garth, the manuscripts have been placed at the editor's 
service in the form of photographic reproductions. These pages 
correspond exactly with the handwriting, undoubtedly that of 
William Tuke, in the last pages of Woolman's own English 
Journal, now at Swarthmore College. In sending to America 
the news of the illness and death of John Woolman, William 
Tuke used this narrative, and embodied it almost verbatim in let- 
ter form, adding besides much of interesting detail. All previ- 
ous editions have this account attached to the concluding pages of 
the Journal in the original form of the memorandum at York, 
as it was written first by William Tuke, with various important 
omissions. It is felt that this letter, in its fuller form, will be 
welcomed by Woolman lovers, since only from It we learn valu- 
able facts. The additions which were made by William Tuke 
in forwarding the letter with Woolman's effects, to his cousin 
Reuben ITaines," in Philadelphia, as the dying man had desired, 
are indicated by square brackets. The only printed copy of the 
letter which has come under the notice of the present editor, is 


XIII 1772 3^7 

separately pviblished in John Comly's "Friends' Miscellany," 
Volume VIII. 

The "Testimonies" to Woolman are taken from the Minute 
Books of the Meetings at York, England, and Burlington, New 
Jersey, respectively. 

York, 26th, loth mo. 1772. 
[Dear Friend, Reuben Haines: -'^ 

It falls to my lot, in the fulfilling of the precious request of 
our beloved friend, John Woolman, hereby to inform thee that 
he departed this life at the house of our friend Thomas Priest- 
man,"'' in the suburbs of this city, the 7th day of the loth mo. 
1772, about the sixth hour in the morning, and was interred in 
Friends' burying-ground -here, the 9th of the same, after a large 
and solid meeting held on the occasion in our great meeting 

He came to this city the 21st day of the ninth month, and 
second day of the week, and having been poorly in health for 
some time before ; apprehended the like feverish disorder he 
usually had at this season of the year was coming upon him. 

The Quarterly meeting of Ministers and Elders was held in 
the Evening of 3* day, and the sittings of the Quarterly meet- 
ing for Business & meetings for Worship on 4"" & 5"^ days, all 
which he was enabled to attend, except the parting meeting for 

He appeared in the Ministry greatly to the Comfort & Satis- 
faction of Friends ; the Spring of the Gospel flowing through him 
with great purity & Sweetness. His last Testimony was in a 
Meeting for Discipline, on the Subject of the Slave Trade; re- 
marking, that as Friends had been solicitous for, and obtain'd 
relief from many of their Sufl^erings, so he recommended this 
oppressed part of the Creation to their Notice, that they may, in 
an Individual Capacity, as way may open, remonstrate their hard- 
ships & Sufl^erings to those in Authority, especially the Legislative 
Power in this Kingdom. [I am persuaded that this his last 
public labour made a deep impression on many minds, and I wish 
the great sufferings he hath passed through on account of this 
oppressed and injured people, may deeply aifect the minds of those 
in America, among whom he hath faithfully and painfully la- 
boured, and of whom he said he was clear.] 


His Illness growing upon him, some Spotts appeared upon his 
Face like the small Pox on 7"^ day, & the next day it appeared 
beyond a doubt that this was his disorder. As he had seldom eaten 
Flesh for some Time, and from the Symptoms at first, we enter- 
tained hopes he would have the disorder favourably ; but a great 
quantity of Spotts began to appear the 3"^ & 4* days, so that he 
was pretty full, and though not so loaded as many, yet for the 
most part was greatly afflicted, but bore it with the utmost Meek- 
ness, Patience, Resignation and Christian Fortitude frequently 
uttering many comfortable & Instructive Expressions, some of 
which were minuted down or remembered.^ [Nothing was 
wanting that could be devised to make him easy, and to 
have restored him, had it been consistent with the Divine 

The Friend ^ and his wife at whose bouse he was, as well 
as divers others of us, being nearly united to him in much ten- 
derness of Affection and near Sympathy, and having the Oppor- 
tunity of attending him, thought it a blessing to behold his ex- 
emplary conduct, which appeared throughout. My Wife ^ and I 
were much with him, both of us seldom leaving him at once, 
either Day or Night, as it was his Request about a Week before 
his Death that she would not sleep out of the House until she 
saw an Alteration, which we freely complied with, and neither 
of us lodged at Home from that time. 

[In the beginning of his Illness he expressed a desire to see 
his Neighbour And shipmate, John Bispham,^^ and an Opportun- 
ity otfering of sending him Word, to his and our Satisfaction 
he came, about two days before his Decease, and stayed till after 
the Funeral. 

It seemed according to natural probability, that the Malignancy 
of the Disorder was not so great but he might Survive it; how- 
ever, the Danger lay in his Constitution being so enfeebled as 
not to be able to struggle through the putrid state of the latter part ' 
of the Disease: which appeared to be the Case: for about eight 

^ In the margin of the York MS. is written, "He often said it was hid from 
him. whether he should recover or not, & he was not desirous to know it, but 
from his own feeling of the disorder, and his feeble constitution, thought he should 

-Thomas Priestman : see Eiog. Note 60. 

' Esther Tuke. 

xni 1772 319 

hours before his Departure, the Fever (which had not been im- 
moderate), left him, and Nature sunk under its Load. 

In the Forepart of his Illness, he gave Directions concern- 
ing his Papers and Funeral with the same Ease and Composure 
as if going a journey, and during the whole time, his Under- 
standing was wonderfully preserved clear and sound, and his 
Mind so Supported in Stillness, patience, resignation and forti- 
tude, as made it very edifying and instructive to be with him.] 

First day, 27th. of 9th. mo. Being asked to have the advice 
of a Doctor, he signified he had not liberty in his Mind so to do, 
standing wholly resigned to his Will who gave him Life, and 
whose Power he had witnessed to heal him in Sickness before, 
when he seemed nigh unto Death ; and if he was to wind up now, 
he was perfectly resigned, having no Will either to live or die, 
and did not choose any should be sent for to him ; but a Young 
Man of our Society, an Apothecary, coming of his own accord the 
next day, & desiring to do something for him, he said he found 
freedom to confer with him & the other Friends about him, and 
if any thing should be proposed as to Medicine that did not come 
through defiled Channels or oppressive Hands, he should be will- 
ing to consider and take it so far as he found freedom. 

The next day he said he felt the Disorder affect his Head, so 
that he could think little & but as a Child, & desired, if his Un- 
derstanding should be more affected, to have nothing given him 
that those about him knew he had a Testimony against. 

The same day. He desired a friend to write, and brake forth 
as follows : "O Lord my God ! the amazing Horrors of Darkness 
were gath'd around me, and Covered me all over, and I saw no 
way to go forth. I felt the depth & Extent of the Misery of 
my fellow Creatures, separated from the Divine Harmony; and 
it was heavier than I could bear, and I was crushed down under 
it. I lifted up my hand, and I stretched out my Arm, but there 
was none to help me ; I looked round about, and was amazed in the 
depths of Misery. O Lord! I remembered that thou are Omni- 
potent; that I had called thee Father, and I felt that I loved 
thee; and I was made quiet in thy Will, and I waited for De- 
liverance from thee; Thou hadst pity upon me when no Man 
could help me ; I saw that Meekness under Suffering, was showed 
unto us in the most affecting example of thy Son, and thou wast 


teaching me to follow Him; and I said, thy will, O Father, be 

4*"^ day morning, being asked how he felt himself, he meekly 
answered, "I don't know that I have slept this Night. I feel 
the Disorder making its progress ; but my Mind is mercifully 
preserved in stillness & Peace." Some time after, he said he was 
sensible the pains of Death must be hard to bear, but if he es- 
caped them now, he must some time pass through them, and did 
not know he could be better prepared, but had no Will in it. He 
said he had settled his outward affairs to his own Mind, had taken 
leave of his Wife & Family as never to return, leaving them to 
the Divine protection ; adding, "and though I feel them near to 
me at this Time, yet I freely give them up, having a hope they 
will be provided for ;" and a little after, said, "This trial is made 
easier than I could have thought, by my Will being wholly taken 
away; for if I was anxious as to the Event, it would be harder; 
but I am not, and my mind enjoys a perfect calm." 

At another Time, he said he was a little uneasy lest any 
should think he had put himself into the hands of the Young 
Man and another Apothecary who of their own choice attended 
him ; and desired Friends might be informed, & he would inform 
the young man, upon what bottom they attended him, being of the 
same Judgment his Friends in America and some here knew he 
had been of; but that he found a freedom to confer with them, 
finding Nature needed Support, during the Time permitted to 
struggle with the disorder; that he had no Objection to use the 
Things in the Creation for real Use, & in their proper places; 
but anything that came through defiled Channels or Oppressive 
Hands, he could not touch with ; having had a Testimony to bear 
against those things, which he hoped to bear to the last. 

He lay for a considerable time in a Still, sweet frame; ut- 
tering many broken expressions, part of which were thus; "My 
Soul is poured out unto thee like Water, and my Bones are out 
of joint. I saw a Vision, in which I beheld the great Confusion 
of those that depart from thee. I saw their Horror & great dis- 
tress. I was made sensible of their Misery, then was I greatly 
distressed ; I looked unto thee ; thou wast underneath & supported 
me. I likewise saw the great Calamity that is coming upon this 
disobedient Nation." 

XIII 1772 321 

In the Night, a young woman '^ having given him something 
to drinlx", he said, "My child ! thou seemest very kind to me a 
poor Creature, the Lord will reward thee for it." A while after 
he cried out with great earnestness of Spirit, "O my Father, my 
Father!" and soon after he said, "O my Father, my Father! 
How comfortable are thou to my Soul in this trying Season !" 

Being ask'd if he could take a little Nourishment, after some 
pause, he replied, "My child, I cannot tell what to say to it ; I 
seem nearly arrived where my Soul shall have rest from all its 

After giving in something to be put into his Journal he said, 
"I believe the Lord will now excuse me from Exercises of this 
kind, and I see now no Work but one, which is to be the last 
wrought by me in this World ; the Messenger will come that will 
release me from all these troubles, but it must be in the Lord's 
Time, which I am waiting for. I have laboured to do whatever 
was required according to the Ability received, in the remem- 
brance of which I have peace ; and though the disorder is strong 
at Times and would come over my Mind Hke a Whirlwind, yet 
it has hitherto been kept steady and centred in Everlasting Love, 
and if that is mercifully continued, I ask nor desire more." 

Among the insertions which John Woolman dictated to be 
added to his Journal, was the following, spread upon two and 
a half pages of the English Journal, in the hand of Thomas 
Priestman." It is followed by the letter to John Wilson, copied in. 

"28 : 9mo : — Being now at the house of my Fr'd Thomas Priest- 
man ™ in the City of York, so weak in body that I know not how my 
sickness may end. I am concern'd to leave in writing a Case the 
remembrance wherof hath often affected me. 

An Honest hearted Fr'd in America who departed this life a 
little less than a year ago, some months before his Departure, '.told 
me in substance as follows : 

That he saw in a Dream or night Vision a great Pond of blood 
from which a fog rose up some distance from him. He saw this 
fog spread round about and great numbers of people walking back- 
wards & forwards in it, the garments of whom had a tincture of 
blood on 'em. 

' Sarah Tuke, afterwards Grubb, daughter of William & Esther Tuke. She was 
then about 16. [Note 70.] 

2 The signature has been crossed off. 


I perceived he apprehended that by the pool of blood was repre- 
sented the state of those hard hearted men through whose means 
much blood is shed in Africa and many lives destroyed through in- 
supportable Stench and other hardships in crossing the Sea, and 
thro' whose extreme oppression Many Slaves are brought to an un- 
timely end, and that the Fog in which the people were walking repre- 
sented the gain arising on Merchandise or Traffick which many were 
taking hold of and at the same time that the gain was the gain of 
Oppression. This Friend in his last illness having several days had 
an inclination to see me at length sent a Messenger and I without 
delay went. He ask'd to be with me in private, which was granted; 
he then told me some matters in particular in regard to the gain of 
oppression which he felt not easie to leave the world without opening 
to me. All this time he appeared tranquil, and the family coming in 
with his consent, death in about one Hour appear'd evidently upon 
him, and I believe in about five hours from my going in he quietly 
breathed his last; and as I believe he left no memorandum in writing 
of that Dream or Vision of the Night, at this time I believe it sea- 
sonable for me to do it. 

(Signed) John Woolman. 

At another Time, said, he had long had a View of visiting this 
Nation & some time before he came, had a Dream in which he 
saw himself in the Northern parts of it ; & that the Spring of the 
Gospel was opened in him, much as in the beginning of Friends, 
such as George Fox and William Dewsbury; & he saw the dif- 
ferent States of the People as clear as he have ever seen Flowers 
in a Garden ; but in his going on, he was suddenly stopt, though 
he could not see for what End ; but looking towards home, he 
thereupon fell into a flood of Tears which waked him. At an- 
other time he said, "My Draught seemed strongest to the North, 
and I mentioned in my own Monthly Meeting that attending the 
Quarterly meeting at York, & being there, looked like home 
to me." 

S"" day night. Having repeatedly consented to take a Medi- 
cine with a View to settle his Stomach, but without Effect ; the 
friend then waiting on him said, through Distress, "What shall 
I do now?" He answered with great Composure, "Rejoice ever- 
more, and in everything give thanks": but added a little after, 
"This is sometimes hard to come at." 

6"' day morning, early. He brake forth in supplication in 

XIII 1772 323 

this Wise ; "O Lord ! it was thy power that enabled me to forsake 
Sin in my Youth, and I have felt thy Bruises since for disobedi- 
ence, but as I bowed under them, thou healedst me ; and though I 
have gone through many Trials and sore Afflictions, thou hast been 
with me, continuing a Father and a Friend. I feel thy Power now, 
and beg that in the approaching trying Moments, thou wilt keep 
my Heart stedfast unto thee." 

Upon giving the same Friend Directions concerning some 
little things, she said, I will take care, but hope thou mayest 
live to order them thyself ; he replied, "My hope is in Christ ; 
and though I may now seem a little better, a change in the Dis- 
order may soon happen and my little Strength be dissolved; and 
if it so happen, I shall be gather'd to my everlasting Rest." On 
her saying she did not doubt that, but could not help Mourning to 
see so many faithful Servants removed at so low a Time, he said, 
"All good cometh from the Lord, whose Power is the same and 
can work as he sees best." 

The same day, after giving her directions about wrapping his 
Corps, and perceiving her to Weep, he said, "I had rather thou 
wouldest guard against Weeping and sorrowing for me, my Sis- 
ter ; I sorrow not, though I have had some painful Conflicts ; 
but now they seem over, and Matters all settled; and I look 
at the Face of my Dear Redeemer, for Sweet is his Voice and 
his Countanance Comely." 

I'*' day, 4th of loth mo. Being very weak, and in general 
difficult to be understood, he uttered a few Words in commemora- 
tion of the Lord's Goodness to him, and added; "How tenderly 
have I been waited on in this Time of Affliction, in which I may 
say in Job's Words, Tedious days and wearisome Nights are ap- 
pointed to me; and how many are spending their Time and Money 
in Vanity & Superfluities, while Thousands and Tens of Thousands 
want the Necessaries of Life, who might be relieved by them, and 
their distress at such a Time as this, in some degree softened by 
the administering of suitable things." 

2°"' day morning. The Apothecary not in profession with us 
who also appeard very anxious to assist him being present, he 
queried about the probability of such a Load of Matter being 
thrown off his weak Body. And the Apothecary making some 
remarks, implying he thought it might, he spoke with an Audible 


Voice on this wise: "My Dependence is in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who I trust will forgive my Sins, which is all I hope for ; 
and if it be his Will to raise up this Body again, I am content; 
and if to die, I am resigned; and if thou canst not be easy with- 
out trying to assist Nature in order to lengthen out my Life, I 

After this, his throat was so much affected that it was very 
difficult for him to speak so as to be understood, & he fre- 
quently wrote, though blind, when he wanted anything. 

About the 2°'^ hour on 4* day morning, he asked for Pen and 
Ink, and at several times with much difficulty wrote thus: "I 
believe my being here is in the Wisdom of Christ ; I know not as 
to Life or Death." About a quarter before Six the same Morn- 
ing, he seemed to fall into an easy sleep, which contmued about 
half an Hour ; when seeming to awake, he breathed a few Times 
with a little more difficulty, & so expired without Sigh, Groan or 

Thus this [Patient & faithful Servant of the Lord] finished 
[a Life of deep exercise & many Sorrows.] [May the considera- 
tion of his extraordinary faithfulness, and devotedness to do 
whatsoever he believed his duty, excite those who survive him 
to diligence in doing or suffering whatsoever may be required 
of them ; so would the many obvious inconsistencies amongst 
us as a people be removed, and the great work of reformation 
go forward and prosper in the earth. 

My dear love to those few in America to whom I am per- 
sonally known, and to all who love the Truth unto whom this 
may come. 

With the salutation of true brotherly love I conclude, and re- 
main thy sincere friend, 

William Tuke. 

[P.S. Our friend J. Woolman inquired what kind of Coffins 
are mostly used by Friends here? how the Corps are usually 
wrapped, &c. and the expense? I told him Friends would be 
very willing to bear those charges, in case of his Decease ; but he 
was not easy they should, and therefore, after some considera- 
tion, ordered me to write the inclosed, which he signed, and said 

XIII 1772 325 

I might send to thee: giving his Clothes to defray the Expenses 
of his Funeral. 

He was not willing to have the Coffin made of Oak, because it 
is a wood more useful than ash for some other purposes. 

I gave the Carpenter some part of his Clothes, which I 
thought equal to the value of the coffin; as also some other part 
to a friend for flannel ; but they seeming to prefer Money, John 
Bispham ^^ gave them to the value, and has ordered the Clothes 
to be sent to America, with the rest of what belonged to him. 
His shoes were given to the Grave-digger.] W. T. 

"An ash cofifin made plain without any manner of superfluities, 
the corpse to be wrapped in cheap flannel, the expense of which I 
leave my wearing clothes to defray, as also the digging of the grave; 
and I desire that W[illiam] T[uke] may take my clothes after my de- 
cease, and apply them accordingly. ^^^^ WOOLMAN." 

York, 29th of 9th month, 1772. 

Minute of 

York Quarterly Meeting, held at York, 

30th. and 31st. of I2th. mo., 1772.' 

As our esteemed Friend, John Woolman from 
West New Jersey in North America, who attended 
our last Quarterly Meeting, departed this Life at York, 
it is become the Concern of this Meeting to give forth 
a Testimony on his Account, for which purpose 
the following Friends are apointed to prepare One, to 
be laid before our Next, for its approbation. 

Viz: W" Tuke, W" Chapman, Rob'. Proud, The' Priestman, and 
Dan' Snowdon. 

Minute of 

York Quarterly Meeting held at York, 

24th. & 2Sth. of 3d. Mo., 1773. 

The Friends appointed last quarter produced a Testimony con- 
cerning our Deceased Friend, John Woolman, which being approved, 
is signed on behalf of this Meeting by many Friends." 

1 Minutes and Testimony are from the Records of York Quarterly Meeting. 
Until a comparatively recent date, the local meeting at York did not place upon 
record the presence of traveling ministers, possibly because such visits were so 
numerous. This is the only record of the presence of John Woolman at the 
meeting held three months before. 



of Friends in Yorkshire, at tlieir Quarterly Meeting held at York, 
the 24th and 2§th of the 3rd month, 1773, concerning 


Of Mount 'Holly, in the Province of New Jersey, in America, who 
departed this Life at the House of our friend Thomas 
Priestman, in the Suburbs of this City, the 7th of the loth 
Month, 1772, and was interred in the burying ground of 
Friends the 9th of the same, Aged about fifty-two years. 

This our Valuable Friend having been under a Religious En- 
gagement for some Time to visit Friends in this Nation, and 
more especially us in the Northern parts, undertook the same, 
in full concurrence and near sympathy with his Friends and 
Brethren at Home, as appeared by Certificates from the Monthly 
and Quarterly Meetings to which he belonged, and from the 
Spring Meeting of Ministers and Elders, held at Philadelphia 
for Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

He arrived in the City of London at the beginning of the 
last Yearly Meeting and after attending that Meeting, travelled 
Northward, visiting the Quarterly meetings of Hertfordshire, 
Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Worces- 
tershire, and divers Particular Meetings in his Way. 

He visited many Meetings on the West side of this County, 
also some in Lancashire and Westmoreland, from whence he 
came to our Quarterly meeting in the last ninth Month, and 
though much out of Health, yet was enabled to attend all the 
Sittings of that Meeting, except the last. 

His disorder then, which proved the small-pox, increased 
speedily upon Him, and was very afflicting ; under which he 
was supported in much meekness, patience, and Christian Forti- 
tude. To those who attended Him in his illness his mind ap- 
peared to be centred in divine Love ; under the precious influ- 
ence whereof we believe he finished his Course, and is entered into 
the Mansions of everlasting Rest. 

XIII 1772 327 

In the early part of his illness he requested a Friend to write 
and broke forth thus: 

"O Lord my God the amazing Horrors of Darkness were gathered 
around me, and covered me all over, and I saw no way to go forth; 
I felt the misery of my Fellow Creatures separated from the divine 
Harmony, and it was heavier than I could bear, and I was crushed 
down under it I lifted up my Hand and stretched out my Arm but 
there was none to help me. I looked round about and was amazed 
in the Depths of Misery. O Lord I remembered that thou art Om- 
nipotent, that I had called Thee Father, and I felt that I loved thee, 
and I was made quiet in thy Will, and I waited for Deliverance from 
Thee. Thou hadst Pity upon me when no man could help me. I 
saw that Meekness under Suffering was shewed to us in the most 
affecting example of thy Son, and thou wast teaching me to follow 
Him and I said, thy will, O Father be done !" 

Many more of his weighty expressions might have been in- 
serted here, but it was deemed unnecessary they being already 
pubHshed in print.^ 

He was a man endued with a large Natural Capacity, and be- 
ing obedient to the manifestations of divine Grace, having in 
patience and humility endured many deep Baptisms, he became 
thereby sanctified and fitted for the Lord's Work, and was truly 
serviceable in his Church, dwelhng in awful fear and watchful- 
ness, he was careful in his public appearances to feel the put- 
ting forth of the divine Hand so that the Spring of the Gospel 
Ministry often flowed through him with great Purity and Sweet- 
ness as a refreshing stream to the weary Travellers towards the 
City of God. Skilful in dividing the Word, he was furnished 
by Him in whom are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowl- 
edge, to communicate freely to the several States of the People 
where his lot was cast; his Conduct at other times was seasoned 
with the like watchful circumspection, and attention to the Guid- 
ance of Divine Wisdom; which rendered his whole conversation 
uniformly edifying. 

He was fully persuaded that as the Life of Christ comes to 
reign in the Earth all abuse and unnecessary oppression, both of 
the human and brute creation, will come to an end. But under 

^ Mary Hinde, London, "Remarks on Sundry Subjects." 


the Sense of a deep revolt, and an overflowing stream of un- 
righteousness his Life has been often a life of mourning. 

He was deeply concerned on account of that inhuman and 
iniquitous practice of making Slaves of the People of Africa, or 
holding them in that state, and on that account we understand 
he hath not only wrote some books, but travelled much on the 
Continent of America, in order to make the Negro Masters 
(especially those in profession with us) sensible of the evil of 
such a practice, and though in this journey to England he was 
far removed from the outward Sight of their Sufferings, yet his 
deep exercise of mind remained, as appears by a short Treatise 
he wrote in this journey,^ and his frequent concern to open the 
miserable State of this deeply injured people. His Testimony in 
the last meeting he attended was on this Subject; wherein he re- 
marked, that as we as a society when under outward Sufferings, 
had often found it our concern to lay them before those in Au- 
thority, and thereby, in the Lord's time, had obtained relief ; so 
he recommended this oppressed part of the Creation to our no- 
tice, that we may, as way may open, represent their sufferings in 
an individual (if not in a Society) capacity to those in Authority. 

Deeply sensible that the desire to gratify people's inclinations 
in luxury and superfluities, is the principal ground of oppres- 
sion, and the occasion of many unnecessary wants, he believed 
it his Duty to be a pattern of great Self Denial, with respect to 
the things of this life and earnestly to Labour with Friends in 
the meekness of Wisdom, to impress on their minds the great 
importance of our Testimony in these things; recommending to 
the Guidance of the Blessed Truth in this and all other con- 
cerns, and cautioning such as are experienced therein against 
contenting themselves with acting up to the standard of Truth 
manifested to them the measure of their obedience: "for," said 
he, "That Purity of Life which proceeds from faithfulness in 
following the Spirit of Truth, that State where our minds are 
devoted to serve God, and all our wants are bounded by his 
Wisdom, this Habitation has often been opened before me as a 
place of Retirement for the Children of the Light, where they 
may stand separated from that which disordereth and confuseth 

' "On the Slave Trade." , i , . 




the Affairs of society, and where we may have a Testimony of 
onr Innocence in the Hearts of those who behold us." 

We conclude with fervent desires that we as a people may 
thus by our example promote the Lord's Work in the earth, and 
our Hearts being prepared, may unite in prayer to the great Lord 
of the Harvest, that as in his infinite Wisdom he hath greatly 
stripped the Church by removing of late, divers faithful Ministers 
and Elders, he may be pleased to send forth many more faith- 
ful Labourers into his Harvest. 

Signed in by Order and on behalf of said Meeting. 


John Armitage 
Joshua Marsden 
John Payne 
Emanuel Elam 
Thos Pennitt 
John Storr 
Joseph Wright 
Joseph Eglin 
Thqs Parkinson 
Samuel Briscoe 
John Turner 
Ambrose Stickney 
Samuel Elam 

Benj. North 
Edw. Hornor 
Wm Empson 
Thqs Hartley 
W" Fairbank 
RoBT Milner 
James Kendal 
Daniel Snowdon 
John Kilden 
Robert Proud 
John Robinson 
Robert Walker 
John Hustler 

Morris Biricbeck 
John Swaine 
Wm Tuke 
Benj. Hird 

Jonathan Hardcastle 
Ralph Hart 
Wm Chapman 
Wm Rowntree 
Joshua Robinson 
Thos Priestman 
Johnathan Hodgson 
Nathanl Bell 
Rich" Smith, Senr. 

A TestimoHy of the Monthly Meeting of Friends, held in 
Burlington, the First Day of the Eighth Month in the Year of 
our Lord 1774, concerning our esteemed friend, John Woolman. 

He was born in Northampton, in the County of Burlington 
and province of West New Jersey, in the eighth month 1720 of 
religious parents, who instructed him very early in the principles 
of the Christian Religion as professed by the people called Quak- 
ers, which he esteemed a blessing to him even in his younger 
years, tending to preserve him from the infection of wicked 
children. But through the workings of the enemy and the levity 
incident to youth, he frequently deviated from those parental 
precepts by which he laid a renewed foundation for repentance 
that was finally succeeded by a "godly sorrow not to be repented 
of" ; and so he became acquainted with that sanctifying power 
which qualifies for true gospel ministry, into which he was called 
about the twenty second year of his age, and by a faithful use 


of the talents committed to him, he experienced an increase, 
until he arrived at the age of a father, capable of dividing the 
word aright to the different states he ministered unto, dispensing 
milk to babes and meat to those of riper years. Thus he found 
the efficacy of that power to arise, which, in his own expres- 
sions, "prepares the creature to stand like a trumpet through 
which the Lord speaks to his people." He was a loving husband, 
a tender father, and was very humane to every part of the cre- 
ation under his care. 

His concern for the poor and those under affliction was evi- 
dent by his visits to them, whom he frequently relieved by his 
assistance and charity. He was for many years deeply exercised 
on account of the poor enslaved Africans, whose cause, as he 
mentioned, lay almost continually upon him ; and he laboured to 
obtain liberty for those captives both in public and in private, 
and was favoured to see his endeavours crowned with consid- 
erable success. He was particularly desirous that Friends should 
not be instrumental to lay burdens on this oppressed people, 
but should remember the days of suffering from which they had 
been providentially delivered, that, if times of trouble should 
return, no injustice done to those in slavery might arise in judg- 
ment against us, but being clear, we might on such occasions ad- 
dress the Almighty with a degree of confidence for his interposi- 
tion and relief, being particularly careful as to himself not to 
countenance slavery even by the use of those conveniences of life 
which were furnished by th^ir labour. 

He was desirous to have his own mind and the minds of 
others redeemed from the pleasures and immoderate profits of 
this world and to fix them on those joys which fade not away; 
his principal care being after a life of purity, endeavouring to 
avoid not only the grosser pollutions, but those also which, ap- 
pearing in a more refined dress, are not sufficiently guarded 
against by some well-disposed people. In the latter part of his 
life he was remarkable for the plainness and simplicity of his 
dress, and as much as possible avoided the use of plate, costly 
furniture and feasting, thereby endeavouring to become an ex- 
ample of temperance and self-denial, which he believed himself 
called unto; and he was favoured with peace therein, although 
it carried the appearance of great austerity in the view of some. 

XIII 1772 331 

He was very moderate in his charges in the way of business, and 
in desires after gain ; and though a man of industry, avoided 
and strove much to lead others out of extreme labour and anxiety 
after perishable things, being desirous that the strength of our 
bodies might not be spent in procuring things unprofitable, and 
that we might use moderation and kindness to the brute animals 
under our care, to prize the use of them as a great favour, and 
by no means to abuse them; that the gifts of Providence should 
be thankfully received and applied to the uses they were designed 

He several times opened a school in Mount Holly, for the 
instruction of poor Friends' children and others, being concerned 
for their help and improvement therein. His love and care for 
the rising youth amongst us was truly great, recommending to 
parents and those who have the charge of them to choose con- 
scientious and pious tutors, saying, "It is a lovely sight to be- 
hold innocent children," and that "to labour for their help against 
that which would mar the beauty of their minds, is a debt we 
owe them." 

His ministry was sound, very deep and penetrating, some times 
pointing out the dangerous situation which indulgence and custom 
lead into, frequently exhorting others, especially the youth, not 
to be discouraged at the difficulties which occur, but to press 
after purity. He often expressed an earnest engagement that pure 
wisdom should be attended to, which would lead into lowliness 
of mind and resignation to the Divine will, in which state small 
possessions here would be sufficient. 

In transacting the affairs of the discipline his judgment was 
sound and clear, and he was very useful in treating those who 
had done amiss ; he visited such in a private way in that plain- 
ness which truth dictates, showing great tenderness and Chris- 
tian forbearance. He was a constant attender of our Yearly 
Meeting, in which he was a good example and particularly use- 
ful, assisting in the business thereof with great weight and at- 
tention. He several times visited most of the meetings of Friends 
in this and in the neighboring provinces with the concurrence 
of the monthly Meeting to which he belonged, and we have rea- 
son to believe he had good service therein, generally or always 
expressing at his return how it had fared with him, and the evi- 


dence of peace in his mind for thus performing his duty. He 
was often concerned with other Friends in the important service 
of visiting famihes, which he was enabled to go through with 

In the minutes of the meeting for ministers and elders for 
this quarter, at the foot of a list of members of that meeting, 
made about five years before his death, we find in his handwrit- 
ing the following observations and reflections ; 

"As looking over the minutes made by persons who have put 
off this body hath sometimes revived in me a thought how ages 
pass away, so this list may probably revive a like thought in 
some when I and the rest of the persons above named are centred 
in another state of being. The Lord who was the guide of my 
youth hath in tender mercies helped me hitherto ; He hath healed 
my wounds ; He hath helped me out of grievous entanglements ; 
He remains to be the strength of my life ; to whom I desire to 
devote myself in time and in eternity. 

John Woolman." 

In the Twelfth month, 1771 he acquainted this meeting that 
he found his mind drawn towards a religious visit to Friends 
in some parts of England, particularly Yorkshire. In the first 
month, 1772, he obtained our certificate, which was approved and 
indorsed by our Quarterly Meeting and by the Half-Year's Meet- 
ing of ministers and elders at Philadelphia. He embarked on his 
voyage in the fifth month and arrived in London in the sixth month 
following, at the time of their Annual Meeting in that city. 
During his short visit to Friends in that kingdom, we are in- 
formed that his services were acceptable and edifying. In his 
]ast illness he uttered many lively and comfortable expressions, 
being "resigned, having no will either to live or die" as appears 
by the testimony of Friends at York, in Great Britain, in the 
suburbs whereof, at the house of our friend, Thomas Priest- 
man, he died of the small-pox on the 7th of the tenth month, 1772, 
and was buried in the Friends' burial ground in that city, on the 
9th. of the same, after a solid meeting held on the occasion at 
their great meeting house. He was aged near fifty two, hav- 
ing been a minister upwards of thirty years, during which time 
he belonged to Mount Holly particular meeting which he dili- 

am 1772 333 

gently attended when at home and in health of body, and his la- 
bours of love and pious care for the prosperity of Friends in the 
blessed truth we hope may not be forgotten, but that his good 
works may be remembered to edification. 

Signed in and by order of the said meeting, by 

Samuel Allinson, clerk. 

Read and approved at our Quarterly Meeting held at Bur- 
lington, the 29th. of the eighth month, 1774. 
Signed by order of the said meeting, 

Daniel Smith, clerk. 






Recommended to the Professors of Christianity of every 



The Manuscript of this Essay was written in 1746, after John 
Woolman's return from his first Southern journey, and was not 
printed until eight years after, in 1754. It was then examined by 
the Pubhcation Committee of the Meeting for Sufferings, (now 
the Representative Meeting) and the Yearly Meeting of Phila- 
delphia ordered it printed in that year. 

The originals of this, and of Part II, are from John Wool- 
man's manuscript in the folio, A. Historical Society of Penn- 


Customs generally approved, and Opinions received by 
youth from their Superiors, become like the natural Produce of 
a Soil, especially when they are suited to favourite Inclinations : 
{But as the Judgments of God are without partiality, by which 
the State of the Soul must be tried, it would be the highest 
Wisdom to forego Customs and popular Opinions, and try the 
Treasures of the Soul by the infallible Standard TruthTI 




































25 ■■ 















































■ 2^ 








V ^^S 












I— I 























"^ ON K E E p. I N G ^- 


Recommended to the Professors of 
CHRISTIANITY, of every Demmimtion. 


By JOHN }V O L M A N. 

Ti Jhall not refptB Per Jons in Judgment ; but you Jhali 
bear the Small as well as the Great : 3'oti fall not i>e 
afraid of the hace of Man 3 Jcr 'tie Jujigmtnt is 
God's. Deut. i. ,17. 


? H. ILAD ELP ti I J- : 
irinted by B. FsANK,i,iN,»and D, Hall. 176; 

■^'tiHim "iili 


"Considerations," etc. Part 11. 
Titlepage of First Edition, 1762. 

Printed by Benjamin Franklin. 


Natural Affection needs a careful Examination: Oper- 
ating upon us in a soft Manner, it l<indles Desires of Love and 
Tenderness, and there is Danger of taking it for something higher. 
To me it appears an Instinct like that which inferior Creatures 
have: each of them, we see, by the Ties of Nature, love Self 
best ; that which is a Part of Self, they love by the same Tie or 
Instinct. In them, it in some Measure does the Offices of Reason ; 
by which, among other Things, they watchfully keep, and or- 
derly feed their helpless Offspring. Thus Natural Affection ap- 
pears to be a Branch of Self-love, good in the Animal Race, in 
us likewise, with proper Limitations ; but otherwise is produc- 
tive of Evil, by exciting Desires to promote some by Means 
prejudicial to others. 

Our Blessed Lord seems to give a Check to this irregular 
Fondness in nature, and, at the same Time, a Precedent for us : 
Who is my mother, and who are my brethrenf Thereby inti- 
mating, that the earthly Ties of Relationship, are comparatively, 
inconsiderable to such who thro' a steady Course of Obedience, 
have come to the happy Experience of the Spirit of God bear- 
ing witness with their Spirits that they are his Children : And he 
stretched forth his hands towards his disciples, and said, Behold 
my mother, and my brethren ! For whosoever shall do the will 
of my Father which is in Heaven, (arrives at the more noble part 
of true relationship) the same is my Brother, and Sister and 
Mother. Matt. xii. 48. 

This doctrine agrees well with a State truly compleat, where 
LOVE necessarily operates according to the agreeableness of 
Things, on principles unalterable and in themselves perfect. 

If endeavouring to have my Children eminent amongst Men 
after my Death, be that which no reasons grounded on these 
Principles can be brought to support ; then, to be temperate in my 
Pursuit after Gain, and to keep always within the Bounds of 
those Principles, is an indispensable Duty ; and to depart from it, 
a dark unfruitful Toil. _ 

In our present Condition, to Loi'c our Children is needful ; 
but except this Love proceeds from the true heavenly Principle 1 
which sees beyond earthly Treasures, it will rather be injurious i 
than of any real Advantage to them : Where the Fountain is \ 
corrupt, the Streams must necessarily be impure. J 


That important Injunction of our Saviour, Matt. vi. 33, with 
the Promise annexed, contains a short but comprehensive View 
of our Duty and Happiness : If then the Business of Mankind 
in this Life, is, to first seek another; if this cannot be done, but 
by attending to the Means ; if a Summary of the Means is, [not 
to do that to another zvhich, in like Circumstances, we would not 
have done unto us;} ^ then these are Points of Moment, and 
worthy of our most serious Consideration. 

[What I write on this Subject is with Reluctance, and] ^ the 
Hints given are in as general Terms as my Concern would 
allow : [I know it is a Point about which, in all its Branches, 
Men that appear to aim well are not generally agreed; and for 
that reason, I choose to avoid being very particular:] '• If I 
may happily have let drop any Thing that may excite such as 
are concerned in the Practice to a close thinking on the Sub- 
ject treated of, the Candid amongst them may easily do the Sub- 
ject such further Justice, as, on an impartial Enquiry, it may 
appear to deserve ; and such an Enquiry I would earnestly recom- 


Forasmuch as ye did it to the least of these my brethren, ye did it 
unto me. — Matt. xxv. 40. 

As Many Times there are different Motives to the same Ac- 
tions ; and one does that from a generous Heart, which another 
does for selfish Ends ; The like may be said in this Case. 

There are various Circumstances amongst them that keep 
Negroes, and different Ways by which they fall under their 
Care ; and, I doubt not, there are many well-disposed Persons 
amongst them, who desire rather to manage wisely and justly 
in this difficult Matter, than to make gain of it. 

But the general Disadvantage which these poor Africans, lie 
under in an enlightened Christian Countrj^ having often filled 

* In reprinting this Essay, to accompany Part II, in 1762, certain alterations 
were suggested by Jolin Woolman. For these words was substituted, "to love 
the Lord our God with all our hearts, and our neighbours as ourselves:" the altera- 
tions, however, were not printed. 

^ This line omitted by John Woohnan, but retained by Publication Committee, 
^ As with (i), retained by the Committee, although omitted by the author, 


me with real sadness, and been like undigested Matter on my 
Mind, I now think it my Duty, through Divine Aid, to offer 
some Thoughts thereon to the Consideration of others. 

When we remember that all Nations are of one Blood, Gen. 
iii. 20, that in this World we are but Sojourners, that we are 
subject to the like Afflictions and Infirmities of Body, the like 
Disorders and Frailties in Mind, the like Temptations, the same 
Death, and the same Judgment, and that the Alwise Being is Judge 
and Lord over us all, it seems to raise an Idea of a general 
Brotherhood, and a Disposition easy to be touched with a Feel- 
ing of each others Afflictions : jBu t when we forget these Things, 
an d look chiefly at our outwa roGrcu mstances, in this and some 
Ag es past, constantly retaining m our Minds the Distinction b e- 
twixt us and them, with respect to our Knowledge and I mprove- 
ment in Things divine, natural and artificial, our Breas ts being 
a pt to be filled with fond Notions of Superiority, there is Danger 
of errin g in our Conduct toward the mH 

We allow them to be of the same Species with ourselves, the 

Odds is, we are in a higher Station, and enjoy greater Favours 
than they: And when it is thus, that our heavenly Father en- 
doweth some of his Children with distinguished Gifts, they are in- 
tended for good Ends : but if those thus gifted are thereby lifted 
up above their Brethren, not considering themselves as Debtors 
to the Weak, nor behaving themselves as faithful Stewards, none 
who judge impartially can suppose them free from Ingratitude. 

When a People dwell under the liberal distribution of Favours 
from Heaven, it behoves them carefully to inspect their Ways, 
and consider the purposes for which those Favours were be- 
stowed lest, through Forgetfulness of God, and Misusing his 
Gifts, they incur his heavy Displeasure whose Judgments are 
just and equal, who exalteth and humbleth to the Dust as he 
seeth meet. 

It appears, by Holy Record, that Men under high Favours 
have been apt to err in their Opinions concerning others. Thus 
Israel, according to the Description of the Prophet Isaiah Ixv. 5. 
when exceedingly corrupted and degenerated, yet remembered 
they were the chosen People of God ; and could say, Stand by thy- 
self, come not near me, for I am holier tlmn thou. That this was 
no chance Language, but their common Opinion of other Peo- 



pie, more fully appears, by considering the Circumstances which 
attended when God was beginning to fulfil his precious Promises 
concerning the gathering of the Gentiles. 

The Most High, in a Vision, undeceived Peter, first prepared 
his Heart to believe; and, at the House of Cornelius, showed 
him of a certainty, that God was no Respecter of Persons. 

The Effusion of the Holy Ghost upon a People, with whom 
they, the Jewish Christians would not so much as eat, was 
strange to them: All they of the Circumcision were astonished 
to see it : and the Apostles and Brethren of Judea contended with 
Peter about it, till he, having rehearsed the whole Matter, and 
fully shown that the Father's Love was unlimited, they were 
thereat struck with Admiration, and cried out. Then hath God 
also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. 

The Opinion of peculiar Favours being confined to them, 
was deeply rooted, or else the above Instance had been less 
strange to them, for these Reasons : First, They were generally 
acquainted with the Writings of the Prophets, by whom this 
Time was repeatedly spoken of, and pointed at. Secondly, Our 
Blessed Lord shortly before expressly said, / Itave other sheep, 
not of this fold, them also must I bring, &c. Lastly, His words 
to them after his Resurrection, at the very Time of his Ascension, 
Ye shall he witnesses to me, not only in Jerusalem, Judea, and 
Samaria, hut to the uttermost parts of the earth. 

Those concurring Circumstances, one would think, might have 
raised a strong Expectation of seeing such a Time: yet, when it 
came, it proved Matter of Offence and Astonishment. 

To consider Mankind otherwise thauj Brethren, to t hink 
Favours are peculiar to one Natio n, and exclude others, pla inly 
supposes a Darkness in the Understanding. For, as God's L ove 
is universal, so where the Mind is sufficiently influenced by it, it 
b egets a Likeness of itself, and the Heart is enlarged toward s all 
"Men^ Again, to conclude a People forward, perverse, and w orse 
b y Nature than others, (who ungratefully receive Favours , and 
a pply them to bad Ends) this will excite a Beh aviour toward 
the m, unbecoming the Excellence of true Religi on. 
~ To prevent such Error, let us calmly consider their Circum- 
stance ; and, the better to do it, make their Case ours. Suppose 
then, that our Ancestors and we had been exposed to constant 


Servitude, in the more servile and inferior Employments of Life; 
that we had been destitute of the Help of Reading and good Com- 
pany ; that amongst ourselves we had had few wise and pious 
Instructors ; that the Religious amongst our Superiors seldom 
took Notice of us ; that while others, in Ease, have plentifully 
heaped up the Fruit of our Labour, we had receiv'd barely 
enough to relieve Nature, and being wholly at the Command of 
others, had generally been treated as a contemptible, ignorant Part 
of Mankind: Should we, in that Case, be less abject than they 
now are? Again, if Oppression be so hard to bear, that a wise 
Man is made mad by it, Eccl. vii. 7, then a Series of those Things, 
altering the Behaviour and Manners of a People, is what may 
reasonably be expected. -^ 

Wh en our Property is taken contrary to our Mind, b y Means 
appearing to us unjust, it is only through Divine Influence , and 
tRe Enlargement of Heart from thence proceeding, that we can 
l ove our reputed Oppressor s: it the Negroes tall short in thiF, 
an uneasy, if not a disconsolate Disposition will be awakeiTd, 
a nd remain like~~5ee ds m their Minds, producing Sloth and 
ma ny other Habits appearing odious to us ; with which, being 
free ]\Ien, the y perhaps had not been chargeab le. These and 
ot her Circumstances, rightly considered, will lessen that too great 
Disparity which som e make between us and th em. 

Integrity of Heart hath appeared in some of them: so that, if 
we continue in the Word of Christ (previous to Discipleship, 
]ohn viii. 57) and our Conduct toward them be seasoned with 
his Love, we may hope to see the good Effect of it : The which, 
in a good Degree, is the Case with some into whose Hands they 
have fallen : But that too many treat them othei-wise, not seem- 
ing conscious of any Neglect, is, alas ! too evident. 

When Self-love presides in our Minds, our Opinions ar e 
bias'd in our own Favour. In this Con dition, being concerned 
with a People so situated that they have no V oice to plead th eir 
ow n Cause, there's Danger of using ourselves to an undisturbe d 
Part iality, till, by long Cus tom, the Mi nd becomes reconciled w ith 
it, an d the Judgment its elf infected. 

To humbly apply to God for Wisdom, that we may thereby be 
enabled to see Things as they are, and ought to be, is very needful ; 
hereby the hidden Things of Darkness may be brought to Light, 


and the Judgment made clear : We shall then consider Mankind 
as Brethren: though different Degrees and a variety of Qualifica- 
tion and Abilities, one dependant on another, be adnaitted, yet 
high Thoughts will be laid aside, and all men treated as becometh 
the Sons of one Father, agreeable to the Doctrine of Christ Jesus. 

"He hath laid down the best Criterion, by which Mankind 
ought to judge of their own Conduct, and others judge for them 
of theirs, one towards another, viz. Whatsoever ye ivould that men 
sh ould do unto you, do ye even so to them. I take i t, that all M eri 
b y Nature are equally entitled to the Equity of this Rule, and un der 
the ind ispensable Obligations of it . O ne Man ought not to look 
upon another Man, or Society of Men, as so far beneath him, but 
that he sho uld put himself in their place, in all his Actions towards 
them, and bring all to this Test, viz. How should I approve of 
this Conduct, were I in their Circumstances, and they in mine? 
A. Arscot's Considerations, p. HI. fol. loy} 

This Doctrine being of a moral, unchangeable Nature, hath 
been likewise inculcated in the former dispensation ; // a Stranger 
sojourn with thee in your Land, ye sliall not vex him: hut the 
stranger that dwelleth with you, shall he as One born amongst 
you, and thou shalt love him as thyself. Lev. xix. 33, 34. Had 
these People come voluntary and dwelt amongst us, to have called 
them Strangers would be proper; and their being brought by 
Force, with Regret, and a languishing Mind, may well raise Com- 
passion in a heart rightly disposed : but there is Nothing in such 
Treatment, which, upon a wise and judicious Consideration, will 
any ways lessen their right of being treated as Strangers. If the 
Treatment which many of them meet with, be rightly examined, 
and compared with these Precepts, Thou shalt not vex him nor 
oppress him; he sliall he as one horn amongst you, and thou shalt 
love him as thyself. Lev. xix. 33. Deut. xxvii. 19, there will appear 
an important Difference betwixt them. 

* Alexander Arscott [1677-1737]: "Some Considerations relating to the Pres- 
ent State of the Christian Religion, wherein the Nature, End and Design of 
Christianity, as well as the Principal Evidence of the Truth of it, are Explained 
and Recommended out of the Holy Scriptures; with a general appeal to the 
Experience of all Men for a confirmation thereof." In Three Parts. Part I 
appeared in 1730: III in 1734 — [London: Assigns of J. Sowle]. The author wa3 
a schoolmaster of Bristol, England, eldest son of a clergyman of South Moulton, 
Devonshire. He was educated at Oxford, and joined the Friends about 1700, 
according to Jos. Smith. He signs the Yearly Meeting Epistles from London 
as Clerk in 1732, 1725, 1728 and 1736. He was author of other works. 


It may be objected there is Cost of Purchase, and Risque of 
their Lives to them who possess them, and therefore needful that 
they make the best use of their Time; In a Practice just and rea- 
sonable, such Objections may have Weight; but if the Work be 
wrong from the beginning, there is little or no Force in them. If 
I purchase a Man who hath never forfeited his Liberty, the natural ■' 
Right of Freedom is in him ; and shall I keep him and his Posterit y t 
in Servitude and Ignorance ? How should I approve of this co n- 'm 
duct, w ere I in his Circumstances, an d he in min e? It may be 
thought, that to treat them as we would willingly be treated, our 
Gain by them would be inconsiderable: And it were, in divers 
Respects, better that there were none in our Country. 

We may further consider that they are now amongst us, and 
those of our Nation the cause of their being here ; that whatsoever 
Difficulty accrues thereon, we are justly chargeable with, and to 
bear all Inconveniencies attending it, with a serious and weighty 
Concern of Mind to do our Duty by them, is the best we can do. 
To seek a Remedy by continuing the Oppression, because we have 
Power to do it and see others do it, will, I apprehend, not be doing 
as we would be done by. 

How deeply soever Men are involved in the most exquisite 
Difficulties, Sincerity of Heart and upright Walking before God, 
freely submitting to his Providence, is the most sure Remedy. He 
only is able to relieve, not only Persons, but Nations in their 
greatest Calamities. 

David, in a great Strait, when the Sense of his past Error, 
and the full Expectation of an impending Calamity as the Reward 
of it, were united to the aggravating his Distress, after some de- 
liberation, saith. Let nic fall now into the Hand of the Lord, for 
very great are his Mercies; hut let me not fall into the Hand of 
Man. I Chron. xxi. 13. 

To Act continually with Integrity of Heart, above all narrow 
or selfish Motives, is a Pure Token of our being partakers of th,- 
Salvation which God hath appointed for Walls and Bulwarks. 
Isa. V. 26; Rom. xv. 8, and is, beyond all Contradiction, a more 
happy Situation than can ever be promised by the utmost Reach 
of Art and Power united, not proceeding from heavenly Wisdom. 

A supply to Nature's lawful Wants, joined with a peaceful, 
humble Mind, is the truest Happiness in this Life; and if here 


we arrive to this, and remain to walk in the Path of the Just, our 
case will be truly happy ; And though herein we may part with, or 
miss of some glaring Shows of Riches, and leave our Children 
little else but wise Instructions, a good Example, and the Knowl- 
edge of some honest Employment, these, with the Blessing of 
Providence, are sufficient for their Happiness, and are more likely 
to prove so, than laying up Treasures for them, which are often 
rather a Snare, than any real Benefit; especially to them, who, 
instead of being exampled to Temperance, are in all Things taught 
to prefer the getting of Riches, and to eye the temporal Distinc- 
tions they give, as the principal business of this Life. These 
readily overlook the true Happiness of Man, as it results, from the 
enjoyment of all Things in the Fear of God, and, miserably sub- 
stituting an inferior Good, dangerous in the Acquiring, and uncer- 
tain in the Fruition, they are subject to many Disappointments ; 
and every Sweet carries its Sting. 

It is the Conclusion of our blessed Lord and his Apostles, as 
appears by their Lives and Doctrines, that the highest Delights of 
Sense, or most pleasing Objects visible, ought ever to be accounted 
infinitely inferior to that real intellectual Happiness suited to Man 
in his primitive Innocence, and now to be found in true Renovation 
of Mind ; and that the Comforts of our present Life, the Things 
most grateful to us, ought always to be received with Temperance, 
and never made the chief Objects of our Desire, Hope, or Love: 
But that our whole Heart and Affections be principally looking to 
that city which hath foundations, zuhose maker and builder is God. 
Did we so improve the Gifts bestowed on us, that our Children 
might have an Education suited to these Doctrines, and our Exam- 
ple to confirm it, we might rejoice in Hopes of their being Heirs 
of an Inheritance incorruptible. 

This Inheritance, as Christians, we esteem the most valuable; 
and how then can we fail to desire it for our Children? Oh that 
we were consistent with ourselves, in pursuing Means necessary 
to obtain it ! 

(It appears, by Experience, that where Children are educated 
in Fulness, Ease and Idleness, evil Habits are more prevalent 
than in common amongst such who are prudently employed in the 
necessary Affairs of Life : And if Children are not only educated 
in the Way of so great Temptation, but have also the Opportunity 


of lording it over their Fellow Creatures, and being Masters of 
Men in their Childhood, how can we hope otherwise than that their 
tender Minds will be possessed with Thoughts too high for them? 
Which, by Continuance, gaining Strength, will prove like a slow 
Current, gradually separating them from (or keeping from Ac- 
quaintance with) that Humility and Meekness in which alone last- 
ing Happiness can be enjoyed. ^ 

Man is born to labour, and Expe rience abundantlv show eth 
that it is for our Good: .But where the Powerful lav the Burthen 
on the Inferior, without affording a Christian Education, and suit- 
abfe Oppor tunity of improving the Mind, and a treatment w hich 
we, in th eir Ease, should approve, that themselves may live at Ea se, 
and fare sumptuousl y, and lay up Riches for their posterity, this 
seems to contradic t the Design of Providence, and, I dou bt, is 
sometimes the Effect of a perverted Mind : For while the L ife of 
one is made grievous by the Rigour of another, it entails Mi sery 
on bofli! 

Amongst the manifold Works of Providence, displayed in the 
different Ages of the World, these which follow (with many 
others) may afford Instruction. 

Abraham was called of God to leave his Country and Kindred, 
to sojourn amongst Strangers: Through Famine and danger of 
Death, he was forced to flee from one Kingdom to another : He, 
at length, not only had Assurance of being the Father of many 
Nations, but became a mighty Prince. Gen. xxiii. 6. 

Remarkable were the Dealings of God with Jacoh in a low 
Estate, the just Sense he retained of them after his Advancement, 
appears by his words: / am not worthy of the least of all thy 
mercies. Gen. xxxii. 10. xlviii. 15. 

The numerous Afflictions of Joseph were very singular; the 
particular Providence of God therein, no less manifested. He, at 
length, became Governor of Egypt, and famous for Wisdom and 

The series of Troubles which David passed through, few 
amongst us are ignorant of ; and yet he afterwards became as one 
of the great Men of the Earth. 

Some Evidences of the Divine Wisdom appear in these Things, 
in that such who are intended for high Stations, have first been 
very low and dejected, that Truth might be sealed on their Hearts ; 



and that the Characters there imprinted by Bitterness and Adver- 
sity, might in after Years remain ; suggesting Compassionate ideas, 
and, in their Prosperity, quickening their Regard to those in the 
Hke Condition. Which yet further appears in the Case of Israel: 
They we're well acquainted with grievous Sufferings, a long and 
rigorous Servitude, then through many notable Events, were made 
Chief amongst the Nations : To them we find a Repetition of Pre- 
cepts to the Purpose above-said : Though, for Ends agreeable 
to infinite Wisdom they were chose as a peculiar People for a 
Time; yet the Most High acquaints them, that his Love is not 
confined, but extends to the Stranger ; and, to excite their Com- 
passion, reminds them of Times past; Ye were Strangers in the 
Land of Egypt, Deut. x. 19. Again, Thou shalt not oppress a 
Stranger, for ye know the Heart of a Stranger, seeing ye were 
Strangers in the Land of Egypt. Exod. xxiii. 9. 

If we call to Mind our Beginning, some of us may find a Time, 
wherein our Fathers were under Afflictions, Reproaches, and 
manifold Sufferings. 

Respecting our Progress in this Land, the Time is short since 
our Beginning was small and our Number few, compared with the 
native Inhabitants. He that sleeps not by Day nor by Night, hath 
watched over us, and kept us as the Apple of his Eye. "• His 
Almighty Arm hath been round about us, and saved us from . 

The Wilderness and solitary Desarts in which our Fathers 
passed the Days of their Pilgrimage, are now turned into pleasant 
Fields ; the Natives are gone from before us, and we established 
peaceably in the Possession of the Land, enjoying our civil and 
religious Liberties ; and, while many Parts of the World have 
groaned under the heavy Calamities of War, our Habitation re- 
mains quiet, and our Land fruitful. 

When we trace back the Steps we have trodden, and see how 
the Lord hath opened a Way in the Wilderness for us, to the Wise 
it will easily appear, that all this was not done to be buried in 
Oblivion; but to prepare a People for more fruitful Returns, and 
the Remembrance thereof ought to humble us in Prosperity, and 
excite in us a Christian Benevolence towards our Inferiors. 
"~ If we do not consider these Things aright, but, through a 


stupid Indolence, conceive Views of Interest, separate from t he 
g eneral Good of th e grea t Brotherhood, and, in Pursuance thereo f, 
treat our Inferiors with Rigour, to increase our Wealth, and gai n 
Ri ches for our Children, what then shall we do when God rise th 
up and when he visiteth, what shall we answer him? D id not h e 
th at made us, make them ? and Did not one fashion us in t he 
z vomb? Job xxxi. 14 . 

To our great Master we stand or fall, to judge or condemn us 
as is most suitable to his Wisdom or Authority. M y Inclination is 
to persuade , and ent reat, and simply give Hints of my Way of 
Th inking. 

If the Christian Religion be considered, both respecting its 
Doctrines, and the happy Influence which it hath on the Minds 
and Manners of all real Christians, it looks reasonable to think 
that the miraculous Manifestation thereof to the World, is a Kind- 
ness beyond Expression. 

Are we the People thus favoured? Are we they whose Minds 
are opened, influenced, and govern'd by the Spirit of Christ, and 
thereby made Sons of God? Is it not a fair conclusion, that we, 
like our heavenly Father, ought in our Degree to be active in the 
same great Cause, of the Eternal Happiness of at least our whole 
Fanulies, and more, if thereto capacitated. 

Tlf we, by the Operation of the Spirit of Christ, become Heirs 
witn him in the Kingdom of his Father, and are redeemed from 
the alluring counterfeit Joys of this World, and the Joy of Christ 
remain in us, to suppose that One remaining in this happy Con- 
dition, can, for the sake of earthly Riches, not only deprive his 
Fellow Creatures of the Sweetness of Freedom, (which, rightly 
used, is one of the greatest temporal Blessings,) but therewith 
neglect using proper Means for their Acquaintance with the Holy 
Scriptures, and the advantage of true Religion, seems, at least, a 
Contradiction to ReasonTj 

Who ever rightly advocates the Cause of some, thereby p ro- 
motes the Good of all. The State of Mankind was harmonious in 
tlie Beginning, and tho' sin hath introduced Discord, yet 
through the wonderful Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, the 
Way is open for our Redemption, and Means are appointed to 
restore us to primitive Harmony. That if one suffer by 1 le Un- 


faithfulness of another, the Mind, the most noble Part of him that 
occasions the Discord, is hereby alienated from its true and real 
Happiness. ■ 

Ipur Duty and Interest are inseparably united; and when we 
neglect or misuse our Talents, we necessarily depart from the 
heavenly Fellowship, and are in the Way to the greatest of EvilsJ 

Therefore to examine and prove ourselves, to find what Har- 
mony the Power presiding in us bears with the Divine Nature, is a 
Duty not more incumbent and necessary, than it would be beneficial. 
In Holy Writ, the Divine Being saith of himself, I am the 
Lord, which exercise Loving Kindness, Judgment and Righteous- 
ness in the Earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. 
Jer. ix. 24. Again, speaking in the Way of Man, to show his Com- 
passion to Israel whose Wickedness had occasioned a Calamity, 
and then being humbled under it, it is said. His Soul was grieved 
for their Miseries. Judges x. 16. If we consider the Life of our 
Blessed Saviour when on Earth, as it is recorded by his Followers, 
we shall find that one uniform Desire for the eternal and tem- 
poral Good of Mankind, discovered itself in all his Actions. 

If we observe Men, both Apostles and others, in many differ- 
ent Ages, who have really come to the Unity of the Spirit and the 
Fellowship of the Saints, there still appears the like DisposiJ:ion, 
and in them the Desire of the real Happiness of Mankind, has out- 
balanced the Desire of Ease, Liberty, and many times Life itself. 
If upon a true Search, we find that our Natures are so far 
renewed, that to exercise Righteousness and Loving Kindness 
(according to our Ability) towards all men, without Respect of 
Persons, is easy to us, or is our Delight ; if our Love be so orderly 
and regular, that he who doth the Will of our Father who is in 
Heaven, appears in our View to be our nearest Relation, our 
Brother, and Sister, and Mother ; if this be our Case, there is a 
good Foundation to Hope that the Blessing of God will sweeten our 
Treasures during our Stay in this Life, and our Memory be 
savory, when we are entered into Rest. 

To conclude. 'Tis a Truth most certain, that a Life guided 
by the Wisdom from above, agreeable with Justice, Equity, and 
Mercy, is throughout consistent and amiable, and truly beneficial 
to Society; the Serenity and Calmness of Mind in it, affords an 
unparalleled Comfort in this Life, and the End of it is blessed. 


[And, no less true, that they who in the Midst of high Favours, 
remain ungrateful, and under all the Advantages that a Christian 
can desire, are selfish, earthly, and sensual, do miss the true Foun- 
tain of Happiness, and wander in a Maze of dark Anxiety, where 
all their Treasures are insufficient to quiet their Minds : Hence, 
from an insatiable Craving, they neglect doing Good with what 
they have acquired, and too often add Oppression to Vanity, that 
they may compass moreTj 

tlmt tliey were Wise, tlxat they understood this, that they 
would consider their latter End! Deut. xxxii. 29. 




Recommended to the Professors of Christianity of every 



The second part of this Essay, written in the six years between 
1754 and 1760 — probably nearer the latter date, — has interesting 
light cast upon it from several letters to Israel Pemberton, who 
was sponsor for a great deal of John Woolman's work: 

Beloved Friend 

The piece J. Churchman took home he perus'd, but being taken 
poorly, made no remark in writeing on it. My brother Asher being 
at their last Monthly Meeting, and I writeing to J. C. about it, he 
sent it, and George, I expect by his agreement, sent a letter to me 
refering it to me carefully to review and transcribe it. Since which 
I have spent some time therein, and am now come to Town in order 
that, if way should open for Friends to meet again upon it, I may be 
near in Case they should want to speak with me. I am a little 
Cautious of being much at thy House, on acct. of the Small pox, but 
would gladly meet thee at Such house as thou thinks Sutable, to have 
a little Conversation with thee. 

I have not yet offered it to any of the Committee. I lodge at 
Reuben Flaines', and am mostly there. 

I remain thy loveing f'rd 
da mo John Woolman. 

17: II : 1761 ' 

Endorsed, "For Israel Pemberton, when he comes home." By I. P. 
"From John Woolman, about his treatise." 

^ Pemberton Papers. Vol. XV, p. 74 — 1761-2. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 



After the Publication Committee had handed it to Israel Pem- 
berton, the author thus writes, dating it, "Same Evening, after 
we met;" 

"Beloved Friend: As I expect to go out of Town (if well) in the 
Morning, and it's likely, may not Se thee, I thought it best to Acquaint 
thee That I remain Well satisfied with what thou propos'd relating 
to the preface, and though I have look'd over the piece with Some 
care and done according to the best of my Understanding, I have all 
along been apprehensive that if it be made publick There was a 
further labour for some other person necessary, and if thou can feel 
liberty from thy other concerns, and freedom to Spend some time 
in a deliberate reviewing and correcting of it, and make such altera- 
tions or additions as thou believes may be usefull, the prospect of it 
is agreeable to me. 

In true brotherly love I 
remain thy fr'd 

John Woolman. 
"The Committee gave it to Anthony" (Benezet) "with a message 
with it to thee. J. W." 

This is endorsed by Israel Pemberton, "From John Woolman, a''' his 
Treatise. 1761."' 

A third letter is written after the acceptance of the Essay, and 
relates to the printing; — 

da mo 
, 9: 2: 1762 

"Beloved Friend 

Since I saw thee I have been thoughtful in case some of the first 
part should be printed, whether it would not be best to have them, 
or a part of them, stitched Separate; As they have been pleanty (sic) 
in and about these parts, I expect some would chuse to have one of 
the Second part who of Choise would not take both together; that 
it hath been a Query with me if the First part be printed, whether 
a less Number would not be sufficient of them than the Second. Hav- 
ing thus hinted what I had thought, I am free to leave it to friends, 
either to omit printing them, or to print as many as to you may 
appear best. 

With love to thee and family I remain thy loveing fr'd, 

John Woolman. 

'Pemberton Papers. Vol. XV. p. in. Historical Society o£ Pennsylvania. 


Enclos'd are some Alterations propos'd to be made in preface to first 

part if printed/ 
For Israel Pemberton, 

in Phila'"." 
Endorsed, "9 2mo. 1762. From Jno. Woolman, a"' his Treatise." 

The Publication Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 
1762 ofifered to print this Essay and pay for it from the Meeting's 
stock, giving copies away. John Woolman declined the offer, and 
preferred to print it at his own expense, giving as his reason that 
those who kept negroes would conceal it from their educated 
slaves ; he felt that, since "those who make a purchase generally 
buy that which they have a mind for," the sale of the essay would 
command closer attention. It was very widely sold at the cost 
price of printing and binding. (See Journal.) 


Ye shall not respect Persons in Judgment; but ye shall hear the 
Small as well as the Great; ye shall not be afraid of the Face of 
Man; for the Judgment is God's. — Detit. i. 17. 


All our Actions are of like Nature with their Root; and the 
Most High weigheth them more skilfully than Men can weigh 
them one for another. 

I believe that one Supreme Being made and supports the 
World ; nor can I worship any other Deity without being an Idol- 
ater, and guilty of Wickedness. 

Many Nations have believed in, and worshipped a Plurality 
of Deities ; but I do not believe they were therefore all wicked. 
Idolatry indeed is Wickedness ; but it is the Thing, not the Name, 
which is so. Real Idolatry is to pay that Adoration to a Creature, 
which is known to be due only to the true God. 

^ The alterations will be found in the notes to the text. Pemberton Papers. 
Vol. IV. p. 112. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


He who professeth to believe one Almighty Creator, and in his 
son Jesus Christ, and is yet more intent on the Honours, Profits 
and Friendships of the World, than he is in Singleness of Heart 
to stand faithful to the Christian Religion, is in the Channel of 
Idolatry : while the Gentile, who, under some mistaken Opinions, is 
notwithstanding established in the true Principle of Virtue, and 
humbly adores an Almighty Power, may be of that Number who 
fear God and work Righteousness. 

I believe the Bishop of Rome assumes a Power that does not 
belong to any Officer in the Church of Christ; and if I should 
knowingly do any Thing tending to strengthen him in that Capacity, 
it would be great Iniquity. There are many Thousands of People, 
who by their Profession acknowledge him to be the Representative 
of Jesus Christ on Earth: and to say that none of them are upright 
in Heart, would be contrary to my Sentiments. 

Men who sincerely apply their Minds to true Virtue, and find 
an inward Support from above, by which all vicious Inclinations 
are made subject; (so) that they love God sincerely, and prefer 
the real Good of Mankind universally to their own private Interest : 
though these, through the Strength of Education and Tradition, 
may remain under some speculative and great Errors, it would be 
uncharitable to say, that therefore God rejects them. He who 
creates, supports, and gives Understanding to all Men, his Knowl- 
edge and Goodness is superior to the various Cases and Circum- 
stances of his Creatures, which to us appear the most difficult. 

The Apostles and primitive Christians did not censure all the 
Gentiles as wicked Men. Rom. ii. 14. Col. iii. 11. But as they 
were favoured with a Gift to discern Things more clearly respect- 
ing the Worship of the true God, they with much Firmness de- 
clared against the worshiping of Idols ; and with true Patience 
endured many Sufferings on that Account. 

Great Numbers of faithful Protestants have contended for the 
Truth, in Opposition to Papal Errors ; and with true Fortitude 
laid down their Lives in the Conflict, without saying. That no Man 
was saved who made Profession of that Religion. 

While we have no right to keep men as Servants for Term of 
Life, but that of superior Power ; to do this, with Design by their 
Labour to profit ourselves and our Families, I believe is wrong : 
but I do not believe that all who have kept Slaves, have therefore 


been chargeable with Guilt. If their Motives thereto were free 
from Selfishness, and their Slaves content, they were a Sort of 
Freemen; which I believe hath sometimes been the Case. 

Whatever a Man does in the Spirit of Charity, to him it is not 
Sin : and while he lives and acts in this Spirit, he learns all things 
essential to his Happiness, as an Individual : And if he doth not 
see that any Injury or Injustice to any other Person, is necessarily 
promoted by any Part of his Form of Government, I believe the 
merciful Judge will not lay Iniquity to his Charge. Yet others, 
who live in the same Spirit of Charity, from a clear Convincement, 
may see the Relation of one Thing to another, and the necessary 
Tendency of each ; and hence it may be absolutely binding on them 
to desist from some Parts of Conduct, which some good Men 
have been in. 


As some in most religious Societies amongst the English are 
concerned in importing or purchasing the Inhabitants of Africa as 
Slaves; and as the Professors of Christianity of several other 
Nations do the like ; these Circumstances tend to make People less 
apt to examine the Practice so closely as they would, if such a 
Thing had not been, but was now proposed to be entered upon. It 
is, however our Duty, and what concerns us individually, as Crea- 
tures accountable to our Creator, to employ rightly the Under- 
standing which he hath given us, in humbly endeavouring to be 
acquainted with his Will concerning us, and with the Nature and 
Tendency of those Things which we practise. For as Justice 
remains to be Justice, so many people of Reputation in the World, 
joining with wrong Things, do not excuse others in joining with 
them, nor make the Consequence of their Proceedings less dread- 
ful in the final Issue, than it would be otherwise. 

Where Unrighteousness is justified from one Age to another, it 
is like dark Matter gathering into Clouds over us. We may know 
that this Gloom will remain till the Cause be removed by a 
Reformation, or Change of Times ; and may feel a Desire, from 
a Love of Equity, to speak on the Occasion : yet where Error is 
so Strong that it may not be spoken against without some Prospect 


of Inconvenience to the Speaker, this Difficulty is Hkelj' to operate 
on our Weakness, and quench the good Desires in us ; except we 
dwell so steadily under the Weight of it, as to be made willing 
to endure Hardness on that Account. 

Where Men exert their Talents against Vices, generally ac- 
counted such, the ill Efifects whereof are presently perceived in a 
Government, all Men who regard their own temporal Good, are 
likely to approve the Work. But when that which is inconsistent 
with perfect Equity, hath the Law, or Countenance of the Great, 
in its Favour, though the Tendency thereof be quite contrary to 
the true Happiness of Mankind, in an equal, if not greater Degree, 
than many Things accounted reproachful to Christians ; yet as 
these ill Effects are not generally perceived, they who labour to 
dissuade from such Things, which People believe accord with 
their Interest, have many Difficulties to encounter. 

The repeated Charges which God gave to his Prophets, imply 
the Danger they were in of erring on this Hand. Be not afraid 
of their Faces ; for I am zvith thee, to deliver thee, saith the Lord. 
Jer. i. 8. Speak all the words that I cotnmaiid thee to speak to 
them, diminish not a zvord. Jer. xxvi. 2. And thou, son of man, 
be not afraid of them, nor dismayed at their looks. Speak -my 
li'ords to them, whether they will hear or forbear. Ezek. ii. 6, 7. 

Under an Apprehension of Duty, I offer some further Con- 
siderations on this Subject, having endeavoured some Years to 
consider it candidly. [1 have observed People of our own Colour, 
whose Abilities have been inferior to the Affairs which relate to 
their convenient Subsistence, who have been taken Care of by 
others, and the Profit of such Work as they could do, applied 
toward their Support. I believe there are such amongst Negroes; 
and that some People in whose Hands they are, keep them with 
no View of outward Profit, do not consider them as black Men, 
who, as such, ought to serve white Men ; but account them Per- 
sons who have Need of Guardians, and as such take Care of them. 
Yet where equal Care is taken in all Parts of Education, I do not 
apprehend Cases of this Sort are likely to occur more frequently 
amongst one Sort of People than anotherj 

It looks to me that the Slave Trade was fo unded, and hath 
generally been ca rried on, in a wrong Sp irj t : t hat the Effects o{' 
it are detrimental to the real Prosperity of our Country ; and will 


be more so, except we cease from the common Motives of keeping 
them, and treat them in future agreeable t o_Truth and pure 

Negroes may be imported, who, for their Cruelty to their 
Countrymen, and the evil Disposition of their Minds, may be 
unfit to be at Liberty; and if we, as Lovers of Righteousness, 
undertake the Management of them, we should have a full and 
clear Knowledge of their Crimes, and of those Circumstances 
which might operate in their Favour; but the Difficulty of obtain- 
ing this is so great, that we have great Reason to be cautious 
therein. But, should i t plainly appear that abs olute Subjection was 
a Condition the most proper for the Person who is purchased, yet 
the innocent Children ought not to be made Slav es, because their 
Parents sinne d. 

We have Account in Holy Scripture of some Families suffer- 
ing, where mention is only made of the Heads of the Family com- 
mitting Wickedness : and it is likely that the degenerate Jews, 
misunderstanding some Occurrences of this Kind, took Occasion 
to charge God with being unequal ; so that a Saying became com- 
mon; The Fathers have eaten sour Grapes, and the Children's 
Teeth arc set on Edge. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, two of the inspired 
Prophets who lived near the same Time, were concerned to correct 
this Error. Ezekiel is large on the Subject. First, he reproves 
them for their Error. What mean ye, iliat yc do so? chap, xviii. 
verse 2. As I lire, saith the Lord God, yc shall not Imve occasion 
any more to use this proverb in Israel. The Words, any more, 
have Reference to Time past ; intimating, that though they had 
not rightly understood some Things they had heard or seen, and 
thence supposed the Proverb to be well grounded; yet henceforth 
they might know of a Certainty, that the Ways of God are all 
equal ; that as sure as the Most High liveth, so sure men are only 
answerable for their own sins. He thus sums up the Matter; 
The soul that sinn-ctli, it sluill die. The son sliall not bear the 
iniquity of the fa-tlicr; ncitlier shall the father bear the iniquity^ 
of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upo'H 
him; and the wickedness of the zmcked shall be upon him. 

Where Men are wicked, they commonly are a Means of cor- 
rupting the succeeding Age ; and thereby hasten those outward 
Calamities, which fall on Nations when their Iniquities are full. 


[Men may pursue Means which are not agreeable to perfect 
Purity, with a View to increase the Wealth and Happiness of 
their Offspring; and thereby may make the Way of Virtue 
more difficult to them. And though the ill Example of a Parent, 
or a Multitude, does not excuse a Man in doing Evil, yet the Mind 
being early impressed with vicious Notions and Practices, and 
nurtured up in Ways of getting Treasure, which are not the Ways 1 
of Truth : this wrong Spirit getting first Possession, and being 
thus strengthened, frequently prevents due Attention to the true 
Spirit of Wisdom, so that they exceed in Wickedness those who 
lived before them. And in this Channel, though Parents labour, 
as they think, to forward the Happiness of their Children, it 
proves a Means of forwarding their Calamity/J This being the 
Case, in the Age next before the grievous Calamity in the Siege 
of Jerusalem, and carrying Judah captive to Babylon, they might 
say with Propriety, This came upon us, because our Fathers for- 
sook God, and because we did worse than our Fathers. 

As the Generation next before them inwardly turned away 
from God, who yet waited to be gracious ; and as they in that Age 
continued in those Things which necessarily separated from perfect 
Goodness, growing more stubborn, till the Judgments of God were 
poured out upon them ; they might properly say. Our fathers have 
sinned, and iiv have home their iniquities. And yet, wicked as 
their Fathers were, had they not succeeded them in their Wicked- 
ness, they had not borne their Iniquities. 

To su ppose it right that an inno cent Man shall at this Day 
be excluded from the common Rules of Justice ; be deprived of 
t hat Liberty which is the natural Right of human Creatures ; and 
be a Slave to others during Life, on Account of a sin committe d . 

by his imme diate Parents ; or a Sin committed by Ham, the Son *^f 
of Noah, is a Supposition too gr oss to be admitted into the Mind 
of any P erson, who sincerely desires to be governed by so lid 
Principj es^ 

It is alledged in Favour of the Practice, that Joshua made 
slaves of the Gibeonites. 

What Men do by the Command of God, and what comes to 
pass as a Consequence of their Neglect, are different; such as the 
latter Case now mentioned was. It was the express Command of 
the Almighty to Israel, concerning the Inhabitants of the promised 


land, Thou slialt make no covenant with them, nor with their Gods: 
They sludl not divell in thy land. Exod. xxiii. 32. Those Gibeo- 
nites came craftily, telling Joshua that they were come from a far 
Country ; that their Elders had sent them to make a League with 
the People of Israel ; and as an Evidence of their being Foreigners, 
showed their old Cloaths, &c. And the men took of their Victuals, 
and asked not Counsel at the Mouth of the Lord: and Joshua 
made peace tvith them, and made a League ivith them, to let them 
live; and the Princes sivare to them. Josh. ix. 14, 15. 

When the Imposition was discovered, the Congregation mur- 
mured against the Princes : But all the Priivces said to all the 
Congregation, we have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel; 
now therefore we may not touch them: we will even let them live, 
lest Wrath be upon us; but let them be Hewers of Wood and 
Drawers of Water unto the Congregation. 

Omitting to ask Counsel, involved them in great Difficulty. 
The Gibeonites were of those Cities, of which the Lord had said, 
Thou slialt save alive nothing tliat breaketh; and of the Stock of 
the Hivites, concerning whom he commanded by Name, Thou 
shall smite them, and utterly destroy them: Thou shall make no 
Covenant zmth them, nor show Mercy unto them. Deut. vii. i. 
Thus Joshua and the Princes, not knowing them, had made a 
League with them to let them live ; and in this Strait they resolved 
to make them Servants. Joshua and the Princes suspected them 
to be Deceivers : Pcradventure you dwell amongst us; and how 
shall we make a League with you! Which Words show, that 
they remembered the Command before-mentioned ; and yet did not 
inquire at the Mouth of the Lord, as Moses directed Joshua, when 
he gave him a Charge respecting his Duty as chief Man among 
that People. Numb, xxvii. 21. By this Omission, Things became 
so situated, that Joshua and the Princes could not execute the 
Judgments of God on them, without violating the Oath which 
they had made. 

Moses did amiss at the Waters of Meribah : and doubtless he 
soon repented ; for the Lord was with him. And it is likely that 
Joshua was deeply humbled under a sense of his Omission; for it 
appears that God continued him in his Office, and spared the Lives 
of those People, for the Sake of the League and Oath made in 
his Name. 


The Wickedness of these People was great, and they worthy 
to die, or perfect Justice had not passed Sentence of Death upon 
them; and as their Execution was prevented by this League and 
Oath, they appear content to be Servants : As it seemeth good and 
right unto thee to do unto us, do. 

These Criminals, instead of Death, had the Sentence of Servi- 
tude pronounced on them in these Words : Now therefore ye 
are cursed; and there shall none of you be freed from, being Bond- 
men, and Hezvcrs of Wood and Drawers of Water for the House 
of my God. 

We find, Deut. xx. 10, that there were Cities far distant from 
Canaan, against which Israel went to Battle; unto whom they 
were to proclaim Peace, and if the Inhabitants made Answer of 
Peace and opened their Gates, they were not to destroy them, but 
make them Tributaries. 

The Children of Israel were then the Lord's Host, and Exe- 
cutioners of his Judgments on People hardened in Wickedness. 
They were not to go to Battle, but by his Appointment. The Men 
who were chief in his Army, had their Instructions from the Al- 
mighty ; sometimes immediately, and sometimes by the Ministry of 
Angels. Of these, amongst others, were Moses, Joshua, Othniel, 
and Gideon; See Exod. iii. 2, and xviii. ig. Josh, v. 13. These 
People far off from Canaan, against whom Israel was sent to Bat- 
tle, were so corrupt that the Creator of the Universe saw it good 
to change their Situation : and in case of their opening their Gates, 
and coming under Tribute, this their Subjection, though prob- 
ably more mild than absolute Slavery, was to last little or no 
longer than while Israel remained in the true Spirit of Govern- 

It was pronounced by Moses the Prophet, as a Consequence of 
their Wickedness, The stranger that is within thee slmll get above 
thee very high; and thou shall come dozmi very low: He shall be 
the Head, and thou the Tail. Deut. xxviii. 43, 44. 

This we find in some Measure verified in their being made 
Tributaries to the Moabites, Midianites, Amorites and Philistines. 
It is alleged in Favour of the Practice of Slave keeping, that 
t he Jews by their Law made Sla v es of the Heathe n^ Levit, xxv. 
^. Moreover, of the Children of the Strangers ttiat do sojourn 
amongst you, of them shall ye buy, and of their Children, which 



arc with you, which they beget in your Land: and they shall be 
your Possession; and you shall take them as an Inheritance for 
your Children after you, to inherit them as a Possession; they 
shall be your Bondmen for ever. It is difficult for us to have 
any certain Kno wledge of the Mind of Moses, in Re gard to keep- 
ing Slaves, a ny other W ay th an by looking upon h im as a true 
Servant of God, vyhose Mind and Conduct vyere re gulated by an 
inward Prin ciple of Justice and Equit y. T o admit a S upposition 
that he in t hat Case was drawn from perfect Equi ty by the Alli- 
ance of outward Ivindred, would be to disown his Authority. 

Abraham had Servants born in his House, and bought with 
his Money: And the Almighty said of Abraham, I know him, 
that he zt'ill order his House after him. Which implies that he was 
as a Father, an Instructor, and a good Governor over his People. 

And Afoses, considere d as a Man of Go d, must necessarily have 
# ^^ — ^ 

had a Prospec t of some real Advantage in the Strangers and 
Heathens bein g Servants to the Israelites for a Ti me. 

IAs Mankind had received and established many erroneous 
Opmions and hurtful Customs, their living and conversing with 
the Jezvs, while the Jezvs stood faithful to their principles, might 
be helpful to remove those Errors, and reform their Manners. 
But for Men, with private Views, to assume an absolute Power 
over the Persons and Properties of others; and continue it from 
Age to Age in the Line of natural Generation, without regard to 
the Virtues and Vices of their Successors, as it is manifestly con- 
trary to true universal Love, and attended with great Evils, there 
requires the clearest Evidence to beget a Belief in us, that Moses 
intended that the Strangers should, as such, be Slaves to the 

Pie directed them to buy Strangers and Sojourners. It appears 
that there were Strangers in Israel who were free Men, and con- 
sidering with what Tenderness and Humanity the Jezvs, by their 
law, were obliged to use their Servants, and what Care was to be 
taken to instruct them in the true Religion, it is not unlikely that 
some Strangers in Poverty and Distress were willing to enter 
into Bonds to serve the Jezvs as long as they lived : and in such 
Case the Jezvs, by their Lazv, had a Right to their Service during 

When the Awl was bored through the Ear of the Hebrew 


Servant, the Text saith, He sJiall serve for ever; yet we do not 
suppose that by the Word for ever it was intended that none of 
his Posterity should afterwards be free; when it is said in regard 
to the Strangers which they bought, they slmll be your possession, 
it may be well understood to mean only the Persons so purchased : 
all preceding relates to buying them ; and what follows, to the Con- 
tinuance of their Service. You shall take them as an Inheritance 
to your Children after you; they slmll be your Bondmen for ever. 
It may be well understood to stand limited to those they pur- 

Moses, directing Aaron and his Sons to wash their Hands and 
Feet, when they went into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, 
saith, It shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and his 
Seed throughout all gcneratious. And to express the Continuance 
of the Law, it was his common Language, It shall be a statute for 
ever throughout your generations. So that had he intended the 
Posterity of the Strangers so purchased to continue in Slavery 
to the Jczi's, it looks likely that he would have used some Terms 
clearly to express it. The Jeivs undoubtedly had Slaves, whom 

t hey k ept as such from one Age to another : but that this wa s 
agreeable to the genuine Design of their inspired Law-giver, i s 
f ar from being a clear Case . 

M aking Constructions of the Law contrary to the true Mean - 
in g of it. was common amongst that People . Samuel's Sons tookJ[ 
Bribes, and perverted Judgment. Isaiah complained that they 
justified the Wicked for Reward. ZepJianiah, Contemporary with 
lereniiah, on Account of the Injustice of the civil Magistrates, 
declared that those Judges were Ravening Wolves; and that the 
Priests did Violence to the Law. 

Jeremiah acquaints us, that the Priests cried Peace, Peace, 
when there was no Peace ; by which Means the People grew bold 
in their Wickedness; and having committed Abominations, were 
not ashamed : but, through wrong Constructions of the Law, they 
justified themselves, and boastingly said. We are wise; and the 
lazv of the Lord is zvith us. These Corruptions continued till 
the Days of our Saviour, who told the Pharisees, You have made 
the Commandment of God of none Effect through yotur Tradi- 

Thus it appears that they corrupted the Law of Moses; nor 


is it unlikely that among many others this was one ; for oppressing 
the Strangers was a heavy Charge against the Jews, and very often 
strongly represented by the Lord's faithful Prophets. 

That the Liberty of Man was, by the inspi red Law-g iver, 
e steemed precious, appears in this ; that such who unjustly de- 
prived Men of it, were to be punished in like Ma nngria,S-_if -they 
had murdered them. He that stealeth a Man, and selleth him; 
or if he be found in his Hand, shall surely be put to Death. This 
part of the Law was so considerable, that Paul, the learned Jew, 
giving a brief Account of the Uses of the Law, adds this. It zvas 
made for Men-stealers. i Tim. i. 10. 

The great Men amongst that People were exceedingly oppre s- 
s ive; and, it is likely, exerted their whole Strength and Influen ce 
t o have the Law construed to suit their Turns. The honest Serv- 
ants of the Lord had heavy Work with them in regard to their 
Oppression ; a few instances follow : Thus saith the Lord of 
Hosts, the God of Israel, amend your Ways, and your Doings; 
and I will cause you to dwell in this Place. If you thoroughly 
execute Judgment between a Man and his Neighbour; if you 
oppress not the Stranger, the Fatherless and the Widow; and shed 
not innocent Blood in this Place ; neither walk after other Gods to 
your Hurt, then will I cause you to dwell in this Place. Jer. vii. 
Again, a IMessage was sent not only to the inferior Ministers of 
Justice, but also to the chief Ruler. This saith the Lord, go down 
to the House of the King of Judah, and speak there this Word: 
execute ye Judgment and Righteousness, and deliver the Spoiled 
out of the hand of the Oppressor; and do no Wrong; do no 
Violence to the Stranger, the Fatherless and the Widow; neither 
shed innocent Blood in this Place. Then adds, That in so doing 
they should prosper ; but if ye zvill not hear these Words, I swear 
by myself, saith the Lord, that this House shall become a Desola- 
tion. Jer. xxii. 

The King, the Princes and Rulers, were agreed in Oppression 
before the Babylonish Captivity : for, whatever Courts of Justice 
were retained amongst them ; or however they decided matters 
betwixt Men of Estates, it is plain that the Cause of the Poor 
was not judged in Equity. 

It appears that the great Men amongst the Jews were fully 
resolved to have Slaves, even of their own Brethren. Jer. xxxiv. 


Notwithstanding the Promises and Threatenings of the Lord, by 
the Prophet, and their solemn Covenant to set them free, con- 
firmed by the Imprecation of passing between the Parts of a Calf 
cut in twain; intimating, by that Ceremony, that on Breach of 
the Covenant, it were just for their Bodies to be so cut in Pieces; 
— Yet after all, they held fast to their old Custom, and called 
Home the Servants whom they had set free. And ye were now 
turned, and Jmd done right in my s'ight, in proclaiming Liberty 
every man to his Neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before 
mc, in the House which is called by my Name. But yc turned, and 
polluted my Name, and caused eivry Man his Servant, whom he 
had set at Liberty at their Pleasure, to return, and brought than 
into Subjection, to be unto you for Servants, and for Handmaids. 
Therefore thus saith the Lord, ye have not hearkened unto tne, 
in proclaiming Liberty every one to his Neighbour, and every one 
to his brother. Behold, I proclaim a Liberty for you, saith the 
Lord, to the Stuord, to the Pestilence, and to the Famine; and I 
imll make you to be removed into all the Kingdoms of the Earth. 
The Men who transgressed my Covenant which they made, and 
passed between the Parts of the calf, I will give into the hands 
of their Enemies, and their dead Bodies shall be for Meat unto 
the Fowls of the Heaven, and the Beasts of the Earth. 

Soon after this their City was taken and burnt; the King's 
Sons and the Princes slain ; and the King, with the chief Men of 
his Kingdom, carried Captive to Babylon. Ezekiel, prophesying 
the Return of that People to their own Land, directs, Ye shall 
divide the latid by lot, for an Lnheritance unto you, and to the 
Strangers that sojourn amongst you-; in what Tribe the Stranger 
sojourns, there shall ye give him his Inheritance, saith the Lord 
God. Nor is this particular Direction, and the Authority with 
which it is enforced, without a tacit Implication, that their An- 
cestors had erred in their Conduct towards the Stranger. 

Some who keep Slaves, have doubted as to the F qnity "f thp 
Practice ; but as they knew Men, noted for their Piety, who were 
i n it, this, they say, has made their Minds easy. 

T o lean on the Example of Men in doubtful Cases, is difficulty 
Fo r only admit, that those Men were not faithful and uprigh t 
t o the highest Degree, but that in some particular Case they er red, 
and it may follow that this one Case wast he same, about whic h 



we are in Doubt; and to quiet our Minds bv their F .xample. may 
be dangerous to ourselves ; and continuing in it, prove a S tum- 
bli ng-block to tender-minded People who succeed us, in like man ner 
a s their Examples are to us . 

But, supposing Charity was their only Motive, and they not 
foreseeing the Tendency of paying Robbers for their Booty, were 
not justly under the Imputation of being Partners with a Thief, 
Prov. xxix. 24, but were really innocent in what they did, are we 
assured that we keep them with the same Views they kept them? 
f we keep them from no other Motive than a real Sense of E [uty, 
and true Charity governs us in all our Proceedings toward th em. 
we are s o far safe : B ut if another Spirit, which inclines our 
Minds to the Ways of this World, prevail upon us. an d we are 
co ncerned for our own outward Gain more than f or their real 
I Ha ppiness, it will avail us nothing that some good Men have^ Tiad 
[the Ca re and Management of Negroes . 

Since Mankind spread upon the earth, many have been the 
Revolutions attending the several Families, and their Customs and 
Ways of Life different from each other. This diversity of 
Manners, though some are preferable to others, operates not in 
Favour of any, so far as to justify them to do Violence to inno- 
cent Men ; or to bring them from their own to another Way of 
Life. The Mind, when moved by a Principle of true Love, may 
feel a Warmth of Gratitude to the universal Father, and a lively 
Sympathy with those Nations, where Divine Light has been less 

This Desire for their real Good may beget a Willingness to 
undergo Hardships for their Sakes, that the true Knowledge of 
God may be spread amongst them. But to take them from their 
own Land, with Views of Profit to ourselves, by means inconsist- 
ent with pure Justice, is foreign to that Principle which seeks 
.the Happiness of the whole Creation. Forced Subjection Qj uinno- 
c ent Persons of f ull Age, is inconsistent with right Reason; on 
one Si de, the human Mind is not naturally fortified with that Firm - 
nes s in Wisdom and G o odness necessary to an indep endent Ruler ; 
o n the other Side, to be subject to the uncont rollable Will of a 
Man, liable to err, is most painful and afflicting to a conscientio u s 
C reature . 

It is our Happiness faithfully to serve the Divine Being, who 


made us. His Perfection makes our Service reasonable: but s o 
l ong as Men are biassed by narrow Self-love, so long an alisolut e 
P ower over other Men is unfit for them ! 

Men, taking on them the Government of others, may intend to 
govern reasonably, and to make their Subjects more happy than 
they would be otherwise; but, as absolute Command belongs only 
t o him who is perfect, where frail Men, in their own Wills, assume 
s uch Command, it hath a direct Tendency to vitiate their Minds , 
an4 jnake them more unfit for Governmen t. 

_^a^g _on_]\Ien tjie _ignoipioious_Title, _SLAVE, _^essing 
themJn__uncomely Garments^keepingjhem to servile Labour, i n 
whjch^_tlxgy are_^Tte ii dirtv, tends grad ua lly to fix a Notion in 
the Mind, that they are a Sort of People below us in Nature, an d 
lea ds us t o_ ^consider them a s su^ in all o u£T'ondu_sions abou t 
them. And, moreover, a Person which in our Esteem is mean 
and contemptible, if their Language or Behaviour toward us is 
unseemly or disrespectful, it excites Wrath more powerfully than 
the like Conduct in one we accounted our Equal or Superior : 
and where this happens to be the Case, it disqualifies for candid 
Judgment; for it is unfit for a Person to sit as Judge in a Case 
where his own personal Resentments are stirred up ; and, as 
Members of Society in a well framed Government, we are 
mutually dependent. Present Interest incites to Duty, and makes 
each Man attentive to the Convenience of others : but he whose 
Will is a Law to others, and can enforce Obedience by Punish- 
ment; he whose Wants are supplied without feeling any Obliga- 
tion to make equal Returns to his Benefactor, his irregular Ap- 
petities find an open Field for Motion, and he is in Danger of 
growing hard, and inattentive to their Convenience who labour 
for his Support ; and so loses that Disposition in which alone 
Men are fit to govern."! 

The English Government hath been commended by candid . 
Foreigners for the Disuse of Racks and Tortures, so much prac- 
tised in some States ; but this multiplying Slaves now leads to it ; 
for where People exac t hard Labour of ot hers, witiiout a suitab le 
Re ward, and are resolved to continue in that Way, Severity to 
such who oppose them becomes the Consequence: and sever al^ 
Nccf roe criminals, among the English in America, have been exe - 
cuted in a lingering, painful Way, very terrifying to others. 



It is a happy Case to set out right, and persevere in the same 
Way. JA wrong Beginning leads into many Difficulties ; for to 
support one Evil another becomes customary : two produces more : 
and the further Men proceed in this Way, the greater their Dan- 
gers, their Doubts and Fears ; and the more painful and perplexing 
are their Circumstances. So that such who are true Friends to 
the real and lasting Interest of our Country, and candidly consider 
the Tendency of Things, cannot but feel some Concern on this 

There is that Superiority in Men over the Brute Creatures, and 
some of them are so manifestly dependent on Men for a Living, 
that for them to serve us in Moderation, so far as relates to the 
right Use of Things, looks consonant to the Design of our Cre- 

There is nothing in their Frame, nothing relative to the propa- 
gating their Species, which argues the contrary ; but in Men there 
is. The Frame of Men's Bodies, and the Disposition of their 
Minds, are different ; some, who are tough and strong, and their 
Minds active, chuse Ways of Life requiring much Labour to sup- 
port them ; others are soon weary ; and though Use makes Labour 
more tolerable, yet some are less apt for Toil than others, and 
their Minds less sprightly. These latter labouring for their Sub- 
sistence, commonly chuse a Life easy to support, being content 
with a little. When they are weary they may rest, take the most 
advantageous Part of the Day for Labour ; and in all cases propor- 
tion one Thing to another, so that their Bodies be not oppressed. 

Now, while each is at Liberty, the latter may be as happy, and 
live as comfortably as the former; but, where Men of the first 
Sort having the latter under absolute Command, not considering 
the Odds in Strength and Firmness, do sometimes, in their eager 
Pursuit, lay on Burthens grievous to l)e liorne ; by Degrees grow 
rigorous, and, aspiring to Greatness, they increase Oppression, 
and the true Order of kind Providence is subverted. 

There are Weaknesses sometimes attending us, which make 
little or no Alteration in our Countenances, nor much lessen our 
Appetite for Food, and yet so affect us, as to make Labour very 
uneasy. In such Case Masters, intent on putting forward Business, 
and jealous of the Sincerity of their Slaves, may disbelieve what 
they say, and grievously afflict them. 


Action is necessary for all Men, and our exhausting Frame 
requires a support, which is the Fruit of Action. The Earth 
must be laboured to keep us alive. Labour is a proper Part of our 
Life; to make one answer the other in some useful Motion, looks 
agreeable to the Design of our Creator. Motion, rightly managed, 
tends to our Satisfaction, Health, and Support. 

Those who quit all useful Business, and live wholly on the 
Labour of others, have their Exercise to seek. Some such use 
less than their Health requires; others choose that which, by the 
Circumstances attending it, proves utterly reverse to true Happi- 
ness. Thus, while some are divers Ways distressed for want of an 
open Channel of useful Action, those who support them sigh and 
are exhausted in a Stream too powerful for Nature, spending 
their Days with too little Cessation from Labour. 

Seed sown with the Tears of a confined oppressed People, 
Harvests cut down by an overborne discontented Reaper, makes 
Bread less sweet to the Taste of an honest Man, than that which 
is the Produce or just Reward of such voluntary action, which is 
one proper Part of the Business of human Creatures. 

Again, the weak State of the human Species is bearing and 
bringing forth their Young, and the helpless Condition of their 
Young beyond that of other Creatures, clearly show that Perfect 
Goodness designs a tender Care and Regard should be exercised 
toward them ; and that no imperfect, arbitrary Power should pre- 
vent the cordial Effects of that Sympathy, which is in the Minds 
of well-met Pairs to each other, and toward their Offspring. 

In our Species, the mutual Ties of Affection are more rational 
and durable than in others below us; the Care and Labour of 
raising our Offspring, much greater. The Satisfaction arising 
to us in their innocent Company, and in their Advances from one 
rational Improvement to another, is considerable, when two are 
thus joined, and their Affections sincere, it however happens 
among Slaves, that they are often situate in different Places ; and 
their seeing each other depends on the Will of Men, liable to 
human Passions and a bias in Judgment; who, with Views of Self- 
interest, may keep them apart more than is right. Being absent 
from each other, and often with other Company, there is a Dan- 
ger of their Affections being alienated. Jealousies arising, the 
Happiness otherwise resulting from their Offspring frustrated, 


and the Comforts of Marriage destroyed. These Things being 
considered closely, as happening to a near Friend, will appear to 
be h ard and painful. 

He who reverently observes that Goodness manifested by our 

Gracious Creator toward the various Species of Beings in this 

World, will see, that in our Frame and Constitution is clearly 

' shown, that innocent Men, capable to manage for themselves, were 

not intended to be Slaves. 

A Person lately travelling amongst the Negroes near Senegal, 
hath this Remark ; "Which Way soever I turned my Eyes on this 
pleasant Spot, I beheld a perfect Image of pure Nature ; an agree- 
able Solitude, bounded on every Side by charming landskips the 
rural Situation of Cottages in the Midst of Trees. The Ease 
and Indolence of the Negroes, reclined under the Shade of their 
spreading Foliage ; the Simplicity of their Dress and Manners ; the 
Whole revived in my Mind the Idea of our first Parents, and I 
1 seepied to contemplate the World in its primitive State." M. 
Adanson, page 55.^ 

Some Negroes in these Parts, who have had an agreea ble 
Education, have man ifested a Brightness of Unde rstanding equal 
to many of us. A Remark of this Kind we find in Bosman, page 
328. "The Negroes of Fida," saith he, "are so accurately quick in 
their Merchandize Accounts, that they easily reckon as justly 
and quickly in their Heads only, as we with the Assistance of Pen 
and Ink, though the Sum amounts to several Thousands." 

Through the Force of long Custom, it appears needful to 

speak in Relation to Colour. Suppose a white Child, born of Par- 
ents of the meanest Sort, who died and left him an Infant, falls 
into the Hands of a Person who endeavours to keep him a Slave, 
sorne Men would account him an unjust Man in doing so ^who 

^Michel Adanson [1727-1806]: "Voyage to Senegal, Isle of Goree and River 
Gambia. Translated from the French, with notes bv an English Gentleman 
who resided in that Country." London, 1759. The original copy, still in the 
Loganian Library. Philadelphia [Ridgway Branch], may easily have been the 
identical copy read and noted by John Woolman. This work first appeared in 
Paris, 1757, as "Histoire Naturelle du Senegal." Adanson in Woolman's time 
was the leading naturalist of France, having been made a member of the French 
Academy at the early age of 30. The Revolution of 1793 brought him to poverty, 
and his later pension only came in time to prolong his old age. When he died 
at 79. his last words were, "Adieu: Timmortalite n'est pas de ce monde." He 
was born at Ai.x, Provence, April 7, 1727, and died in Paris. August 3, 1806. 
[Nouvelle Biographic Generale.] 


yet_ appear easy while many Black Peopl e^ f honest Lives and 
good Abilities, are enslaved in a Manner more shocking than th e 
Case here suppos e d . This is owing chiefly to the Idea of Slavery 
being connected with the Black Colour, and Liberty with th e 
White : and where false Ideas are twis_ted into our Minds, it i s 
wi th difficulty we get fairly disentangled .J 

A Traveller in cloudy Weather, misseth his Way, makes many 
Turns while he is lost; still forms in his Mind the Bearing and 
Situation of Places ; and though the Ideas are Wrong, they fix 
as fast as if they were right. Finding how Things are, we see 
our Mistake ; yet the Forc e of Reason, with repeat ed Observa - 
tions on Places and Things, do not soon remove those fals e 
No tions, so fastened upon us, but it will seem, in the Imagination 
as if the annual Course of the Sun was altered : and though, b y 
Recollectio n, we are assured it is not, yet those Ideas do not sud- 
denl y leave us. 

Selfishness being indulged, clouds the Understanding ; and 
where selfish Men, for a long Time, proceed on their Way without 
Opposition, the Deceivableness of Unrighteousness gets so rooted 
in their Intellects, that a candid Examination of Things relating 
to Self-interest is prevented ; and in this Circumstance, some 
who would not agree to make a Slave of a Person whose Colour 
is like their own, appear easy in making Slaves of others of a dif- 
ferent Colour, though their Understandings and Morals are equal 
to the Generality of Men of their own Colour.J 

The Colour of a M an avails nothing in Matters of Right and 
_Equity . Consider Colour in Relation to Treaties ; by such. Dis- 
putes betwixt Nations are sometimes settled. And should the 
Father of us all so dispose Things, that Treaties with black Men 
should sometimes be necessary, how then would it appear amongst 
the Princes and Ambassadors, to insist on the Prerogative of the 
white Colour? 

Whence is it that Men, who believe in a righteous Omnipoten t 
Being, to whom all Nations stand equally r elated, and a re equaJily 
accountable, remain so easy in it; but for that the Ideas of Negroes M' 
and Slaves are so interwoven in the Mind, that they do not discus s 
t his Matter with that Candour and Freedom of Thought, which the 
Cas e justly calls for ? 

To come at a right Feeling of their Condition, requires humble, 


serious T hinking; for, in their present Situati on^ they have but 
little to e ngage our natural Affection in their Fav our. 

Had we a Son or a Daughter involved in the same Case in 
which many of them are, it would alarm us, and make us feel 
their Condition without seeking for it. The Adversity of an in- 
timate Friend will incite our Compassion, while others, equally 
good, in the like Trouble, will but little affect us. 

Again, the Man in worldly Honour, whom we consider as our 
Superior, treating us with Kindness and Generosity, begets a 
Return of Gratitude and Friendship toward him. We may receive 
as great Benefits from Men a Degree lower than ourselves, in the 
common Way of reckoning, and feel ourselves less engaged in 
Favour of them. Such is our Condition by Nature; and these 
. Things being narrowly watched and examined, will be found to 
centre in Self-love. 

|The Blacks seem far from being our Kinsfolks ; and did we 
find an agreeable Disposition and sound Understanding in some 
of them, which appeared as a good Foundation for a true Friend- 
ship between us, the Disgrace arising from an open Friendship 
with a Person of so vile a Stock, in the common Esteem, would 
naturally tend to hinder it. They have neither Honours, Riches, 
outward Magnificence nor Power; their Dress coarse, and often 
"Tp ragged ; their Employ Drudgery, and much in the Dirt : they 
have little or nothing at Command ; but must wait upon and work 
for others to obtain the Necessaries of Life: so that, in their 
present Situation, there is not much to engage the Friendship, or 
move the Affection of selfish Men. But such who live in the 
Spirit of true Charity, to sympathize with the Afflicted in the 
lowest Stations of Life, is a Thing familiar to thernj 

Such is the Kindness of our Creator, that People, applying' 
their Minds to sound Wisdom, may, in general, with moderate 
Exercise, live comfortably, where no misapplied Power hinders 
it. We in these Parts have Cause gratefully to acknowledge it. 
But Men leaving the true Use of Things, their Lives are less 
calm, and have less of real Happiness in them. 

Many are desirous of purchasing and keeping Slaves, that 
they may live in some Measure conformable to those Customs 
of the Times, which have in them a Tincture of Luxury. For 
when we, in the least Degree, depart from that use of the Crea- 


tures, whirVi the Crcaiur of all things intended for them, there Lux- 
ury begins. 

And if we consider this Way of Life seriously, we shall see 
there is nothing in it sufficient to induce a wise Man to chuse it, 
before a plain, simple Way of living. If we examine stately 
Buildings and Equipage, delicious Food, superfine Cloaths, Silks 
and Linens ; if we consider the Splendour of choice Metal fastened 
upon Raiment, and the most showy Inventions of Men, it will 
yet appear that the humble-minded Man, who is contented with 
the true Use of Houses, Food and Garments, and cheerfully exer- 
ciseth himself agreeable to his Station in Civil Society, to earn 
them, acts more reasonabl)', and discovers more Soundness of 
Understanding in his Conduct, than such who lay heavy Burdens 
on others to support themselves in a luxurious Way of living. 

George Buchanan, in his History of Scotland, page 62, tells 
of some ancient Inhabitants of Britain, who were derived from a 
people that "had a Way of marking their Bodies, as some said, 
with Instruments of Iron, with Variety of Pictures, and with Ani- 
mals of all Shapes, and wear no Garments, that they should not 
hide their Pictures ; and were therefore called Picts." ^ Did we 
see those People shrink with Pain, for a considerable Time to- 
gether, under the Point or Edge of this Iron Instrument, and 
their Bodies all bloody with the Operation ; did we see them some- 
times naked, suffering with Cold, and refuse to put on Garments, 
that those imaginary Ensigns of Grandeur might not be concealed, 
it is likely we should pity their Folly and Fondness for those 
Things. But if we candidly compare their Conduct, in that Case, 
with some Conduct amongst ourselves, will it not appear that our 
Folly is the greatest? 

In true Gospel Simplicity, free from all wrong Use of Things, 
a Spirit which breathes Peace and good Will is cherished: but 
when we aspire after Imaginary Grandeur, and apply to selfish 
Means to attain our End, this Desire, in its Original, is the same 
with the Picts in cutting Figures on their Bodies; but the evil, 
Consequences attending our Proceedings are the greatest. 

^ COVETOUS Mind, which seeks Opportunity to rxalt 

^ "The History of Scotland," by George Buchanan, published originally in Latin, 
was translated and published in English in two volumes, in London. Thi third 
edition, 1733, in Volume I, p. 66 contains the quotation given above. 



itself, is a great Enemy to true Harniony in a Country : Envy 
and Grudging usually accompany this Disposition, and it tends, to 
stir up its Likeness in others. And where this Disposition ariseth 
so high as to embolden us to look upon honest industrious Men 
as our own Property during Life, and to keep them to hard 
Labour to support us in those Customs which have not their 
Foundation in right Reason, or to use any Means of Oppression, 
a haughty Spirit is cherished on one Side, and the Desire of Re- 
venge frequently on the other, till the Inhabitants of the Land 
are ripe for great Commotion and Trouble. And thus Luxury and 
Oppression have the Seeds of War and Desolation in themTl 

Some Account of the Slaz'e Trade, taken from the writings of 
persons zvho have been at the places it'here they are first pur- 

Bosman on Guinea, who was a factor for the Dutch about six- 
teen years in that country, (page 339) ^ thus remarks : "But since 
I have so often mentioned that commerce, I shall describe how it 
is managed by our factors. The first business of one of our fac- 
tors, when he comes to Fida, is to satisfy the customs of the king, 
and the great men, which amounts to about one hundred pounds 
in Guinea value, as the goods must sell there. After which we 
have free license to trade, which is published throughout the whole 
land by the crier. And yet, before we can deal with any person, 
we are obliged to buy the king's whole stock of slaves at a set 
price ; which is commonly one third or fourth higher than ordi- 
nary : after which, we have free leave to deal with all his subjects, 
of what rank soever. But if there happen to be no stock of 
slaves, the factor must resolve to run the risk of trusting the 
'nhabitants with goods to the value of one or two hundred slaves; 

hich commodities they send into the inland country, in order to 
buy with them slaves at all markets, and that sometimes two 
hundred miles deep in the country : for you ought to be informed 
that markets of men are here kept in the same manner as those 
of beasts are with us. •-. ' 

^William Bosman: "A Description of the Coast of Guinea, containing Geo- 
graphical, Political and Nattiral History," &c. The second English Translation 
from the original Dutch was published in London in 1721. The book was much 
read. Wm. Bosman was for sixteen years the Dutch Factor at Delmina. 


"Most of the slaves which are offered to us, are prisoners of 
war, which are sold b_v the victors as their booty. When these 
slaves come to Fida, they are put in prisons all together ; and when 
we treat concerning them, they are all brought out in a large 
plain, where, by our surgeons, whose province it is, they are thor- 
oughly examined, even to the smallest member, and that naked, 
both men and women, without the least distinction or modesty. 
Those which are approved as good, are set on one side. The in- 
valids and maimed being thrown out, the remainder are numbered, 
and it is entered who delivered them. In the meanwhile, a burn- 
ing iron, with the arms or name of the company, lies in the 
fire, with which ours are marked on the breast. This is done, that 
we may distinguish them from the slaves of the English, French, 
or others. When we have agreed with the owners of the slaves, 
they are returned to their prisons, where, from that time forward, 
they are kept at our charge ; cost us two-pence a day a slave, which 
serves to subsist them, like our criminals, on bread and water : so 
that, to save charges, we send them on board our ships the first 
opportunity; before which their masters strip them of all they have 
on their backs, so that they come aboard stark naked, as well 
women as men ; in which condition they are obliged to continue, 
if the master of the ship is not so charitable (which he com- 
monly is) as to bestow something on them, to cover their naked- 

Same author, page 310 — ^"The inhabitants of Popo, as well as 
those of Goto, depend on plunder and the slave trade, in both 
which they very much exceed the latter; for being endowed with 
more courage, they rob more successfully, and by that means 
increase their trade. Notwithstanding which, to freight a vessel 
with slaves, requires some months attendance. In the year 1697, 
in three days time I could get but three slaves ; but they assured 
me, that if I would have patience for other three days only, they 
should be able to deliver one or two hundred." 

Bosman, page 440 — "We cast anchor at cape Mizurada, but 
not one negro coming on board, I went on shore; and being de- 
sirous to be informed why they did not come on board, was an- 
swered, That about two months before, the English had been 
there with two vessels, and had ravaged the country, destroyetl 
all their canoes, plundered their houses, and carried ofif some of 


their people for slaves ; upon which the remainder fled to the inland 
country. They tell us they live in peace vi^ith all their neighbours, 
and have no notion of any other enemy than the English; of which 
nation they had taken some then; and publicly declared, that they 
would endeavour to get as many of them as the two mentioned 
ships had carried off of their natives. These unhappy English 
were in danger of being sacrificed to the memory of their friends, 
which some of their nation carried off." 

Extracts from a Collection of Voyages.^ — Vol. I. 

The author, a popish missionary, speaking of his departing 
from the negro country to Brazil, saith, "I remember the duke of 
Bambay (a negro chief) one day sent me several blacks to be my 
slaves; which I would not accept of, but sent them back to him. 
I afterwards told him I came not into his country to make slaves ; 
but rather to deliver those from the slavery of the devil, whom 
he kept in miserable thraldom. The ship I went aboard was loaded 
with elephants teeth and slaves, to the number of six hundred and 
eighty men, women, and children. It was a pitiful sight to behold 
how all these people were stowed. The men were standing in the 
hold, fastened one to another with stakes, for fear they should 
rise and kill the whites : the women were between the decks, and 
those that were with child in the great cabin : the children in the 
steerage, pressed together like herrings in a barrel ; which caused 
an intolerable heat and stench." Page 507. 

"It is now time," saith the same author, "to speak of a brutish 
custom these people have amongst them in making slaves ; which I 
take not to be lawful for any person of a good conscience to 

He then describes how women betray men into slavery, and 
adds, "There are others going up into the inland country, and 
through pretence of jurisdiction, seize men upon any trifling 
offence, and sell them for slaves." Page 537. 

1 "Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses," &c., 1743, appeared in an English translation by 
Lockman, as "Travels of the Jesuits in Various Parts of the World, Particularly China 
and the East Indies." It became a very popular work. The Second Edition was just 
out in 1762. Andrew Brue, a noted traveler, also published his account with the 
King's sanction, in Ashley's "Collection of Voyages" in the year 1745. With both of 
these works John Woolman had become familiar, probably through Anthony Benezet. 


The author of this treatise, conversing with a person of good 
credit, was informed by him, that in his youth, while in England, 
he was minded to come to America, and happening on a vessel 
bound for Guinea, and from thence into America, he, with a view 
to see Africa, went on board her, and continued with them in 
their voyage, and so came into this country. Among other cir- 
cumstances, he related these: "They purchased on the coast about 
three hundred slaves; some of them he understood were captives 
of war; some stolen by other negroes privately. When they 
had got many slaves on board, but were still on that coast, a 
plot was laid by an old negro, notwithstanding the men had irons 
on their hands and feet, to kill the English and take the vessel: 
which being discovered, the man was hanged, and many of the 
slaves made to shoot at him as he hung up." 

"Another slave was charged with having a design to kill the 
English ; and the captain spoke to him in relation to the charge 
brought against him, as he stood on deck ; whereupon he imme- 
diately threw himself into the sea, and was drowned." 

"Several negroes, confined on board, were, he said, so ex- 
tremely uneasy with their condition, that after many endeavours 
used, they could never make them eat nor drink after they came in 
the vessel ; but in a desperate resolution starved themselves to 
death, behaving toward the last like madmen." 

In Randall's Geography, printed 1744,'^ we are informed, that 
in a time of full peace, nothing is more common than for the 
negroes of one nation to steal those of another, and sell them to 
the Europeans. It is thought that the English transmit annually 
near fifty thousand of these unhappy creatures ; and the other 
European nations together, about two hundred thousand more. 

It is through the Goodness of God that the Reformation from 
gross Idolatry and Barbarity hath been thus far eflfected ; if we 
consider our Condition as Christians, and the Benefits we enjoy, 
and compare them with the Condition of those People, and con- 
sider that our Nation trading with them for their Country Prod- 
uce, have had an Opportunity of imparting useful Instructions to 
them, and remember that but little Pains have been taken therein, 
it must look like an Indifference in us. But when we reflect on a 
Custom the most shocking of any amongst them, and remember 

' Joseph Randall. This work appeared in 1744, and became an authority. 


that, with a View to outward Gain, we have joined as Parties 
in it; that our Concurrence with them in their barbarous Pro- 
ceedings, has tended to harden them in Cruehy, and been a Means 
of increasing Calamities in their Country, we must own that 
herein we have acted contrary to those Worthies whose Lives and 
Substance were spent in propagating Truth and Righteousness 
amongst the Heathen. 

When Satd, by the Hand of Doeg, slew Four Score Priests 
at once, he had a Jealousy that one of them at least was con- 
federate with David, whom he considered as his Enemy. Herod 
slaying all the Male Children in Bethlehem of two Years old and 
under, was an Act of uncommon Cruelty; but he supposed there 
was a Male Child there, within that Age, who was likely to be 
King of the Jews; and finding no Way to destroy him but by 
destroying them all, thought this the most efifectual Means to se- 
cure the Kingdom to his own Family. 

When the Sentence against the Protestants of Marindol, &c. 
in Franee, was put in Execution, great Numbers of people fled to 
the Wilderness ; amongst whom were ancient People, Women great 
with Child, and others with Babes in their Arms, who endured 
Calamities grievous to relate ; and in the End some perished with 
Hunger, and many were destroyed by Fire and Sword : but they 
had this Objection against them, That they obstinately persisted 
in Opposition to Holy Mother Church, and being Heretics, it was 
right to work their Ruin and Extirpation, and raze out their 
Memory from among Men. Foxe's ^ Acts and Monuments, page 

[in Favour of those Cruelties, every one had what they deemed 
a Plea. These Scenes of Blood and Cruelty among the barbarous 
Inhabitants of Giiiney, are not less terrible than those now men- 
tioned. They are continued from one Age to another, and we 
make ourselves Parties and Fellow-helpers in them : nor do I 
see that we have any Plea in our Favour more plausible than the 
Plea of Saul, of Herod, or the French, in those Slaughters?] 

Many who are Parties in this Trade, by keeping Slaves with 
Views of Self-interest, were they to go as Soldiers in one of these 
Inland Expeditions to catch Slaves, they must necessarily grow 

^ John Foxe, whose "Acts and Monuments" [1563, London] is best known as 
the "Book of Martyrs." 


dissatisfied with such Employ, or cease to profess their religious 
Principles. And though the first and most striking Part of the 
Scene is done at a great Distance, and by other Hands, yet every 
one who is acquainted with the Circumstances, and notwithstand- 
ing joins in it for the Sake of Gain only, must, in the Nature of 
Things, be chargeable with the others. 

Should we consider ourselves present as Spectators, when 
cruel Negroes privately catch innocent Children who are em- 
ployed in the Eields ; and hear their lamentable Cries, under the 
most terrifying Apprehensions ; or should we look upon it as 
happening in our own Families, having our Children carried off 
by Savages, we must needs own, that such Proceedings are contrary 
to the Nature of Christianity : Should we meditate on the Ware 
which are greatly increased by this Trade, and on that Affliction 
which many Thousands live in, through Apprehensions of being 
taken or slain; on the Terror and Amazement that Villages are 
in, when surrounded by these Troops of Enterprisers ; on the 
great Pain and Misery of groaning, dying Men, who get wounded 
in those Skirmishes ; we shall necessarily see that it is impossible 
to be Parties in such a Trade, on the Motives of Gain, and retain 
our Innocence. 

Should we consider the Case of Multitudes of those People, 
who in a fruitful Soil, and hot Climate, with a little Labour, raise 
Grain, Roots and Pulse to eat; spin and weave Cotton, and fasten 
together the large Feathers of Fowls, to cover their Nakedness ; 
many of whom, in much Simplicity, live inoffensively in their 
Cottages, and take great Comfort in raising up Children. 

Should we contemplate on their Circumstances, when suddenly 
attacked, and labour to understand their inexpressible Anguish 
of Soul who survive the Conflict; should we think on inoffensive 
Women, who fled at the Alarm, and at their Return saw that 
Village in which they and their acquaintance were raised up, 
and had pleasantly spent their youthful Days, now lying in a 
gloomy Desolation ; some shocked at finding the mangled Bodies 
of their near Friends amongst the Slain ; others bemoaning the 
Absence of a Brother, a Sister, a Child, or a whole Family of 
Children, who, by cruel Men, are bound and carried to Market to 
be sold, without the least Hopes of seeing them again : Add to 
this, the afflicted Condition of these poor Captives, who are 


separated from Family Connexions, and all the Comforts arising 
from Friendship and Acquaintance ; carried amongst a People of a 
strange Language, to be parted from their Fellow Captives, put 
to Labour in a Manner more servile and wearisome than what 
they were used to, with many sorrowful Circumstances attending 
their Slavery ; and we must necessarily see that it belongs not to 
the Followers of Christ to be Parties in such a Trade, on the 
Motives of outward Gain. 

\Though there were Wars and Desolation among the Negroes, 
before the Europeans began to trade there for Slaves; yet now 
the Calamities are greatly increased ; so many Thousands being 
annually brought from thence : and we, by purchasing them, with 
Views of Self-interest, are become Parties with them, and acces- 
sary to that Increase J 

^n this Case, we are not joining against an Enemy who is 
fomenting Discords on our Continent, and using all possible 
Means to make Slaves of us and our Children; but against a 
People who have not injured usii 

If those who were spoiled and wrong ed, should at length 
make Slaves of thei r Oppressors, and co ntinue Slavery to their 
Posterity, it would look rigorous to candid Men. But to act that 
Part toward a People, when neither they nor their Fathers have 
injured us, hath something in it extraordinary, and requires our 
serious Atteiition. 

Our Children breaking a Bone ; getting so bruised, that a 
Leg or an Arm must be taken off; lost for a few Hours, so that 
we despair of their being found again ; a Friend hurt, so that he 
dieth in a day or two ; these things move us with Grief. And 
did we attend to these Scenes in Africa, in like Manner as if they 
were transacted in our Presence ; and sympathize with the Negroes, 
in all their Afflictions and Miseries, as we do with our Children 
or Friends ; we should be more careful to do nothing in any 
Degree helping forward a Trade productive of so many, and so 
great Calamities. Great Distance makes nothing in our Favour. 
To willingly join with Unrighteousness, to the Injury of Men 
who live some Thousand Miles off, is the same in Substance, 
as joining with it to the Injury of our Neighbours. 

In the Eye of pure Justice. Actions are regarded according 
to the Spirit and Disposition they arise from. Some Evils are 


accounted scandalous ; and the Desire of Reputation may keep 
selfish Men from appearing openly in them : but he who is shy on 
that Account, and yet by indirect Means promotes that Evil and 
shares in the Profit of it, cannot be innocent. 

He who, with a View to Self-interest, buys a Slave, made so 
by Violence, and only on the Strength of such Purchase holds him 
a Slave, thereby joins Hands with those who committed that 
Violence, and in the Nature of Things becomes chargeable with 
the Guilt. 

Suppose a Man wants a Slave, and being in Giiiney, goes and 
hides by the Path where Boys pass from one little Town to an- 
other, and there catches one the Day he expects to Sail ; and 
taking him on board, brings him home, without any aggravating 
Circumstances. Suppose another buys a Man, taken by them who 
live by Plunder and the Slave-Trade : they often steal them 
privately, and often shed much Blood in getting them. He who 
buys the Slave thus taken, pays those Men for their Wickedness, 
and makes himself Party with them. 

Whatever Nicety of Distinction there may be, betwixt going 
in Person on Expeditions to catch Slaves, and buying those, with a 
View to Self-interest, which others have taken; it is clear and 
plain to an upright Mind, that such Distinction is in Words, not 
in Substance; for the Parties are concerned in the same Work, 
and have a necessary Connection with, and Dependence on, 
each other. For, were there none to purchase Slaves, they who 
live by stealing and selling them, would of Consequence do less 
at it. 

So me would buy a Negroe brought from Guiney, with a Vi ew I 
to S elf-interest, and keep him a Slave, who yet would seern to | 
Scr uple to take Arms, and join with men employed in tak ing 

Othe rs have civil Negroes, who were born in our _Country, 
capa ble and likely to manage well for themselves; whom they 
kee p as Slaves, without ever trying them with Freedom, and i 
tak e the Profit of their Labour as a part of their Estates ; an d yet 1 
disap prove bringing them from their own Count ry. ^ 

If those Negroes had come here, as Merchants, with their 
Ivory and Gold Dust, in order to trade with us, and some Powerful 
Person had took their Effects to himself, and then put them to 


hard Labour, and ever after considered them as Slaves, the 
Action vi^ould be looked upon as unrighteous. 

Those Negroc Merchants having Children after their being 
among us, whose Endowments and Conduct were like other Peoples 
in common, who attaining to mature Age, and requesting to have 
their Liberty, they should be told they were born in Slavery, and 
were lawful Slaves, and therefore their Request denied; the 
Conduct of such Persons toward them, would be looked upon as 
unfair and oppressive. 

In the present Case, relating to Home-born Negroes whose 
Understandings and Behaviour are as good as common among 
other People, if we have any Claim to them as Slaves, that Claim is 
grounded on their being the Children or Offspring of Slaves, who, 
in general, were made such through Means as unrighteous, and 
attended with more terrible Circumstances than the Case here 
supposed ; so that when we trace our Claim to the Bottom, these 
Home-born Negroes having paid for their Education, and given 
reasonable Security to those who owned them, in case of their 
becoming chargeable, we have no more equitable Right to their 
Service, than we should if they were the Children of honest Mer- 
chants who came from Guiney in an English Vessel to trade 
with us. 

[if we claim any Right to them as the Children of Slaves, we' 
builcT on the Foundation laid by them who made Slaves of their 
Ancestors ; so that of Necessity we must either justify the Trade, 
or relinquish our Right to them as being the Children of Slaves.J 

W b y should it seem right to honest Men to make Advant age 
by tHese People, more than by others? Others enjoy Freedom, 
receive Wages equal to their Work/af or near such Time as they 
have discharged these equitable )3Dligations they are under to those 
who educated them. T hese^have made no Contract to serve ; been 
no more expensive in raising up than others, and many of them 
appear as likely to mafce a right Use of Freedom as other Pe ople : 
which Way then can an honest Man withhold from them th at 
Liberty, which is the free G i ft of the Most High to his ra tio nal 
Creatures ? 

T he Upright in Heart cann ot succ eed the Wick ed in their 
Wickedness : nor is it consonant to the Life thev live, to hold 
fast an Advantage unjustly gained. 


The Negroes who Hve by Plunder and the Slave-Trade, steal 
poor innocent Children, invade their Neighbours Territories, and 
spill much Blood to get these Slaves. And can it be possible for 
an honest Man to think that, with View to Self-interest, we may 
continue Slavery to the Offspring of these unhappy Sufferers, 
merely because they are the Children of Slaves, and not have a 
share of this Guilt? 

It is granted by Many, that the Means used in getting them 
are unrighteous, and that buying them, when brought here, is 
wrong; yet as setting them free is attended with some Difficulty, 
they do not comply with it ; but seem to be of the Opinion, that 
to give them Food and Raiment, and keep them Servants, without 
any other Wages, is the best Way to manage them that they know 
of : And hoping that their Children after them will not be cruel to 
the Negroes, conclude to leave them as Slaves to their Children. 

While present outward Interest is the chief Object of our 
Attention, we shall feel many Objections in our Minds against 
renouncing our Claim to them, as the Children of Slaves : for, 
being prepossessed with wrong Opinions, prevents our seeing 
Things clearly, which to indifferent Persons, are easy to be seen. 
Suppose a Person Seventy Years past, in low Circumstances, 
bought a Negroe Man and Woman ; and that the Children of 
such Person are now wealthy, and have the Children of Such 
Slaves. Admit that the first Negroe Man and his Wife did as much 
Business as their Master and Mistress, and that the Children of 
the Slaves have done some more than their young Masters : Sup- 
pose, on the whole, that the Expence of Living has been less on 
the Negroes side, than on the other, (all of which are no improb- 
able Suppositions), it follows that in Equity these Negroes have a 
Right to a Part of this Increase; that should some Difficulties 
arise on their being set free, there is Reason for us patiently 
to labour through them. 

As th e Conduct of Men varies, relating to Civil_Society ; so 
differen t^reatment~is justlv due to the ni^_j£discreet Men occa- 
sion Trouble in the World; and it re mains to be the Care of such 
who seek the Good of Mankind, to a dmonish as they fin d Occasion. 
T he'Slothfulness of som e of the m, in providing for themselve s. 
qndJFatr iilipg i> is likely, wou ]d_ require the Notice of th eir_Neigh- 
bours ; nor is it unlikely that some would, with Justice, be made 


Servants, and others punish ed for their Crimes. Pure Justi ce 
points out to each Individual their Due, but to deny a People 
t he Privilege of hunnan Creatures, on a Supposition that, being 
free, many of them would be troublesome to us, is to mix the 
C ondition of good and bad Men together, and treat the y yhole 
as the vyorst of them deserve . 

If we seriously consider that Liberty is the Right of inn ocent 
Men; that the Mighty God is a Refuge for the Oppressed; tha t in 
R eality we are indebted to them; that they being set fre e, are 
st ill liable to the Penalties of our Laws, and as likely to have 
Punishment for their crimes as other People : This may answer 
all our Objections. A nd to retain them in perpetu al Servitude, 
i thout just Cause for it. will produce Effects, in the Ey ent, more 
grie vous than setting them free would do, when a rea l Love to 
truth and Equity was the Motive to it. 

Our Authority over them stands originally in a Purchase made 
from those who, as to the general, obtained theirs by Unrighteous- 
ness. Whenever we have Recourse to such Authority, it tends 
more or less to obstruct the Channels through which the perfect 
Plant in us receives Nourishment. 

There is a Principle which is pure, placed in the human Mind, 
which in different Places and Ages hath had different Names: 
it is, however, pure, and proceeds from God. It is deep, and in- 
ward, confined to no Forms of Religion, nor excluded from any, 
where the Heart stands, in perfect Sincerity. In whomsoever this 
takes Root and grows, of what Nation soever, they become 
Brethren, in the best Sense of the Expression. Using ourselves 
to take Ways which appear most easy to us, when inconsistent 
with that Purity which is without Beginning, we thereby set up a 
Government of our own, and deny Obedience to Him whose 
Senyce is true Liberty. 

[He that hath a Servant, made so wrongfully, and knows it 
to oe so, when he treats him otherwise than a free Man, when 
he reaps the Benefit of his Labour, without paying him such Wages 
as are reasonably due to free Men for the like Service, Cloaths ex- 
cepted ; these Things, tho' done in Calmness, without any Shew of 
Disorder, do yet deprave the Mind in like Manner, and with as 
great Certainty, as prevailing Cold congeals WaterTf [These Steps 
taken by Masters, and their Conduct striking the Minds of their 


Children, whilst young, leave less Room for that which is good 
to work upon them. The Customs of their Parents, their Neigh- 
bours, and the People with whom they converse, working upon 
their Minds ; and they, from thence, conceiving Ideas of Things, 
and Modes of Conduct, the Entrance into their Hearts becomes, in 
a great Measure, shut up against the gentle Movings of uncreated 

From one Age to another, the Gloom grows thicker and darker , 
till Error gets established by general Opinion : so that whoeve r 
atte nds to perfect Goodness, and remains under the melting Infl u- 
ence of it, finds a Path unknown to many, and sees the Necess ity 
to lean upo n the arm of Divine Strength, and dwell alone, or 
with a few, in the right, comm itting their Cause to Him who is a 
Refug e for his People in all their Tro ubles. 

Where, through the Agreement of a Multitude, some Channels 
of Justice are stopped, and Men may support their Characters 
as just ]\Ien, by being just to a Party, there is great Danger of 
contracting an Alliance with that Spirit which stands in Opposition 
to the God of Love, and spreads Discord, Trouble, and Vexation 
among such who give up to the Influence of it. 

Negroes are our Fellow Creatures, and their present Condition 
amongst us requires our serious Consideration. We know not the 
Time when those Scales in which Mountains are weighed, may 
turn. The Parent of Mankind is gracious ; His Care is over his 
smallest Creatures ; and a Multitude of men Escape not his Notice. 
And though many of them are trodden down, and despised, yet 
he remembers them : He seeth their Affliction, and looketh upon 
the spreading, increasing Exaltation of the Oppressor. He turns 
the Channels of Power, humbles the most haughty People, and 
gives Deliverance to the Oppressed, at -such Periods as are con- 
sistent with his infinite Justice and Goodness. And wherever 
Gain is Preferred to Equity, and wrong Things publicly encour- 
aged, to that Degree that Wickedness takes Root, and spreads wide 
amongst the Inhabitants of a Country, there is real Cause for 
Sorrow to all such whose Love to Mankind stands on a true Prin- 
ciple, and who wisely consider the End and Event of Things. 








Both Joseph Smith ("Catalogue of Friends' Books") and R 
Hildeburn ("Issues of the Press in Pennsylvania") give the date 
of publication of this Essay, following the statement of the first 
edition of the "Works," as 1768. A note by John Woolman 
himself, however, prefacing the Essay, "Serious Considerations 
on Trade" fixes the first printing of this as ten years 
earlier, i.e. 1758. This is hardly a slip of the pen. The original 
manuscript has apparently disappeared, nor has been found any 
copy of the essay as a separate pamphlet, except in modern form. 
The collation has therefore been made with the earliest edition 
available, that of Mary Hinde, who printed it in London in 1773, 
under the title "Serious Considerations on Various Subjects of 
Importance" including also the brief essays written in England, 
the American "Epistle," and the earlier essay, "On the True 
Harmony of Mankind." 

The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, 
gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits, with- 
out partiality, and without hypocrisy. — James iii. 17. 





Subjects of 1mportak.ce, 

■ ■ — ■■-! .,■ -..■ — ■■!■ ■, I in 


O,-' McuN r MuLt.V. in the Jei^sevs 
North America, diccaftU ; 

With fome ot hb 



Printed and Sold by Mary H i m d* r, 

at N* 2, in G^orge-Iard, Lombard- Street, 





My Mind hath often been affected with Sorrow, on Account 
of the prevaihng of that Spirit, which leads from an humble 
waiting on the inward Teaching of Christ, to pursue Ways of 
Living, attended with unnecessary Labour ; and which draws forth 
the Minds of many People to seek after outward Power, and to 
strive for Riches, which frequently introduce Oppression, and 
bring forth Wars and grievous Calamities. 

It is with Reverence that I acknowledge the Mercies of our 
Heavenly Father, who, in Infinite Love, did visit me in my Youth, 
and wrought a Belief in me, that through true Obedience a State 
of inward Purity may be known in this Life; in which we may 
love Mankind in the same Love with which our Redeemer loveth 
us, and therein learn Resignation to endure Hardships, for the real 
Good of others. 

"While the Eye is single, the whole Body is full of Light." 
Mat. vi. 22. But for want of this, selfish Desires, and an imaginary 
Superiority, darken the Mind : hence Injustice frequently pro- 
ceeds ; and where this is the Case, to convince the Judgment, is 
the most efTectual Remedy. 

Where violent Measures are pursued in opposing Injustice, the 
Passions and Resentments of the Injured frequently operate in 
the Prosecution of their Designs : and after Conflicts productive of 
very great Calamities, the Minds of contending Parties often re- 
main as little acquainted with the pure Principle of Divine Love 
as they were before. But where People walk in that pure Light 
in which all their "Works are wrought in God;" and under Op- 
pression persevere in the meek Spirit, and abide firm in the Cause 
of Truth, without actively complying with oppressive Demands, 
through those the Lord hath often manifested his Power, in 
opening the Understandings of others, to the promoting Righteous- 
ness in the Earth. 

A Time, I believe, is coming, wherein this Divine Work 
will so spread and prevail, that "Nation shall not lift up Sword 
against Nation, nor learn War any more." Isaiah ii. 4. And as 
we, through the tender Mercies of God, do feel that this precious 
Work is begun, I am concerned to encourage my Brethren and 


Sisters in a Holy Care and Diligence, that each of us may so live, 
under the sanctifying Power of Truth, as to be redeemed from all 
unnecessary Cares ; that our Eye being single to him, no Customs, 
however prevalent, which are contrary to the Wisdom from above, 
may hinder us from faithfully following his Holy Leadings, in 
whatsoever he may graciously appoint for us. 


To have our Trust settled in the Lord, and not to seek after, 
nor desire outward Treasures, any further than his Holy Spirit 
leads us therein, is a happy State, as saith the Prophet, "Blessed 
is the Man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose Hope the Lord is." 

Pure Wisdom leads People into Lowliness of Mind, in which 
they learn Resignation to the Divine Will, and Contentment in 
suffering for his Cause, when they cannot keep a clear Conscience 
without suffering. 

In this pure Wisdom the Mind is attentive to the Root and 
Original spring of Motions and Desires ; and as we know "the 
Lord to be our Refuge," and find no Safety, but in humbly walk- 
ing before him, we feel an Holy Engagement, that every Desire 
which leads therefrom may be brought to Judgment. 

While we proceed in this precious Way, and find ardent 
Longings for a full Deliverance from every thing which defiles, 
all Prospects of Gain that are not consistent with the Wisdom 
from above, are considered as Snares, and an inward Concern 
is felt, that we may live under the Cross, and faithfully attend to 
that Holy Spirit which is sufficient to preserve out of them. 

When I have considered that Saying of Christ, Mat. vi. 19, 
"Lay not up for yourselves Treasures upon Earth," his Omnipo- 
tence hath often occurred to my Mind. 

While we believe that he is every where present with his 
People, and that perfect Goodness, Wisdom and Power, are 
united in him, how comfortable is the Consideration. 

Our Wants may be great, but his Power is greater. We may 
be oppressed and despised, but he is able to turn our patient Suf- 
ferings into Profit to ourselves, and to the Advancement of his 
Work on Earth. Llis People, who feel the Power of his Cross, 
to crucify all that is selfish in them, who are engaged in outward 


Concerns from a Convincement that it is their Duty, and resign 
themselves and their Treasures to him ; these feel that it is 
dangerous to give way to that in us which craves Riches and 
Greatness in this World. 

As the Heart truly contrite, earnestly desires "to know Christ, 
and the Fellowship of his Sufferings," Phil. iii. lo, so far as the 
Lord for gracious Ends may lead into them ; as such feel that it 
is their Interest to put their Trust in God, and to seek no Gain 
but that which he, by his Holy Spirit, leads into; so, on the con- 
trary, they who do not reverently wait for this Divine Teacher, 
and are not humbly concerned, according to their Measure, "to 
fill up that which is behind of the Afflictions of Christ," Col. i. 24, 
in patiently suffering for the Promoting Righteousness in the 
Earth ; but have an Eye toward the Power of Men and the out- 
ward Advantage of Wealth; these are often attentive to those 
Employments which appear profitable, even though the Gains 
arise from such Trade and Business which proceeds from the 
Workings of that Spirit, which is estranged from the self-deny- 
ing Life of an humble contrite Christian. 

While I write on this Subject, I feel my Mind tenderly 
affected toward those honestly disposed People, who have been 
brought up in Employments attended with those Difficulties. 

To such I may say, in the feeling of our Heavenly Father's 
Love, and number myself with }'ou, O! that our Eyes may be 
single to the Lord ! May we reverently wait on him for Strength 
to lay aside all unnecessary Expence of every Kind, and learn 
Contentment in a plain simple Life. 

May we, in Lowliness, submit to the Leadings of his Spirit, 
and enter upon any outward Employ which he graciously points 
out to us ; and then, whatever Difficulties arise in Consequence of 
our Faithfulness, I trust they will work for our Good. 

Small Treasure to a resigned Mind is sufficient. How happy 
is it to be content with a little, to live in Humility, and feel that 
in us, which breathes out this Language, Abba, Father! 

If that, called the Wisdom of this World, had no Resemblance 
of true Wisdom, the Name of Wisdom, I suppose, had not been 
given to it. 

As wasting outward Substance to gratify vain Desires, on 
one hand; so Slothfulness and Neglect, on the other, do often 


involve Men and their Families in Trouble, and reduce them to 
Want and Distress : to shun both these opposite Vices, is good in 
itself, and hath a Resemblance of Wisdom. But while People, 
thus provident, have it principally in View to get Riches, and 
Power, and the Friendship of this World, and do not humbly 
wait for the Spirit of Truth to lead them in Purity ; these, through 
an anxious Care to obtain the End desired, reach forth for Gain 
in worldly Wisdom, and, in regard to their inward State, fall 
into divers Temptations and Snares. And though such may 
think of applying Wealth to good Purposes, and to use their 
Power to prevent Oppression, yet Wealth and Power is often 
applied otherwise, nor can we depart from the Leadings of our 
Holy Shepherd, without going into Confusion. 

Great Wealth is frequently attended with Power, which nothing 
but Divine Love can qualify the Mind to use rightly : and as to 
the Humility and Uprightness of our Children after us, how 
great is the Uncertainty! If, in acquiring Wealth, we take hold 
on the Wisdom which is from beneath, and depart from the 
Leadings of Truth, and Example our Children herein, we have 
great Cause to apprehend that Wealth may be a Snare to them ; 
and prove an Injury to others over whom their Wealth may 
give them Power. 

To be redeemed from that Wisdom which is from beneath, and 
walk in the Light of the Lord,' is a precious Situation. Thus his 
People are brought to put their Trust in him ; and in this humble 
Confidence in his Wisdom, Goodness and Power, the Righteous 
find a Refuge in Adversities, superior to the greatest outward 
Helps, and a Comfort more certain than any worldly Advantages 
can afford. 


Having, from my Childhood, been used to Bodily Labour for 
a Living, I may express my Experience therein. 

Right Exercise affords an innocent Pleasure in the Time of 
it, and prepares us to enjoy the Sweetness of Rest; but from 
the Extremes each Way, arise Inconveniences. 

Moderate Exercise opens the Pores, gives the Blood a lively 
Circulation, and the better enables us to judge rightly respecting 
that Portion of Labour which is the true Medium. 


"The Fowls of the Air sow not, nor gather into Barns, yet 
our Heavenly Father feedeth them." Mat. vi. 26. Nor do I 
believe that Infinite Goodness and Power would have allotted 
Labour to us, had he not seen that Labour was proper for us in 
this Life. 

The original Design and true Medium of Labour, is a Subject 
that to me appears worthy of our serious Consideration. 

Idle Men are often a Burden to themselves, neglect the Duty 
they owe to their Families, and become burdensome to others also. 

As outward Labour, directed by the Wisdom from above, 
tends to our Health, and adds to our Happiness in this Life; so, 
on the contrary, entering upon it in a selfish Spirit, and pursuing 
it too long, or too hard, hath a contrary Effect. 

I have observed that too much Labour not only makes the 
Understanding dull, but so intrudes upon the Harmony of the 
Body, that after ceasing from our Toil, we have another to pass 
through, before we can be so composed as to enjoy the Sweetness 
of Rest. 

From too much Labour in the Heat, frequently proceed immod- 
erate Sweats, which do often, I believe, open the Way for Dis- 
orders, and impair our Constitutions. 

When we go beyond the true Medium, and feel Weariness 
approaching, but think Business may suffer if we cease ; at such 
a Time, spirftuous Liquours are frequently taken, with a View to 
support Nature under these Fatigues. 

I have found that too much Labour in the Summer heats the 
Blood, that taking strong Drink to support the Body under such 
Labour, increaseth that Heat, and though a Person may be so far 
temperate as not to manifest the least Disorder, yet the Mind, in 
such a Circumstance, doth not retain that Calmness and Serenity 
which we should endeavour to live in. 

Thus toiling in the Heat, and drinking strong Liquor, makes 
Men more resolute and less considerate, and tends very much to 
disqualify from successfully following Him who is meek and low 
of Heart. 

As laying out Business more than is consistent with pure Wis- 
dom, is an Evil, so this evil frequently leads into more. Too 
much Business leads to Hurry. In the Hurry and Toil, too much 
strong Drink is often used, and hereby many proceed to Noise 


and Wantonness, and some, though more considerate, do often 
suffer Loss as to a true Composedness of Mind. 

I feel sincere Desires in my Heart, that no Rent nor Interest 
might be laid so high as to be a Snare to Tenants ; that no Desires 
of Gain may draw any too far in Business; that no Cares to 
support Customs which have not their Foundation in pure Wis- 
dom, may have Place in our Minds ; but that we may build on the 
sure Foundation, and feel our Holy Shepherd to lead us, who 
alone is able to preserve us, and bring forth from every Thing 
which defiles. 

Having several Times, in my Travels, had Opportunity to 
observe the Labour and manner of Life of great Numbers of 
Slaves, it appears to me that the true Medium is lamentably neg- 
lected by many who assign them their Portion of Labour. 

Without saying much at this Time, concerning buying and 
selling Men for Term of Life, who have as just a Right to 
Liberty as we have ; nor about the great Miseries and Effusion 
of Blood, consequent on promoting the Slave trade; and to speak 
as favourably as may be, with regard to continuing those in 
Bondage who are amongst us, we cannot say there is no Partiality 
in it. For, whatever Tenderness may be manifested by Lidi- 
viduals in their Lifetime toward them, yet for People to be 
transmitted from a Man to his Posterity in the helpless Condition 
of slaves, appears inconsistent with the Nature of the Gospel 
Spirit. From such Proceedings it often follows, that Persons 
in the Decline of Life are deprived of Monies equitably due to 
them, and committed to the Care, and subjected to the absolute 
Power of young, unexperienced Men, who know but little about 
the Weakness of old Age, nor understand the Language of declin- 
ing Life. 

Where Parents give their Estates to their Children, and then 
depend on them for a Maintenance, they sometimes meet with 
great Inconveniences ; but if the Power of Possession, thus 
obtained, doth often reverse the Obligations of Gratitude and filial 
Duty, and makes manifest that Youth are often ignorant of the 
Language of old Age, how hard is the Case of ancient Negroes, 
who, deprived of the Wages equitably due to them, are left to 
young People who have been used to look upon them as their 


For Men to behold the Fruits of their Labour withheld from 
them, and possessed by others, and in old Age find themselves 
destitute of those comfortable Accommodations, and that tender 
Regard which their Time of Life requires: 

When they feel Pains, and Stiffness in their Joints and Limbs, 
Weakness of Appetite, and that a little Labour is wearisome, and 
still behold themselves in the neglected, uncomfortable Condition 
of a Slave, and oftentimes to a young unsympathizing Man: 

For Men to be thus treated from one Generation to another, 
who, besides their own Distresses, think on the Slavery entailed 
on their Posterity, and are grieved : What disagreeable thoughts 
must they have of the professed Followers of Jesus ! and how 
must their Groans ascend to that Almighty Being, who "will be 
a Ixefuge for the Oppressed." Psalm ix. 9. 


"Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, 
for of such is the kingdom of God." Mark x. 14. 

To encourage Children to do Things with a View to get Praise 
of Men, to me appears an Obstruction to their being inwardly 
acquainted with the Spirit of Truth. For it is the Work of the 
Holy Spirit to direct the Mind to God, that in all our Proceedings 
we may have a single Eye to him to give Alms in secret, to fast 
in secret, and labour to keep clear of that Disposition reproved 
by our Saviour, "But all their Works they do for to be seen of 
Men." Mat. xxiii. 5. 

That Divine Light which enlightens all Men, I believe, 
does often shine in the Minds of Children very early; and to 
humbly wait for Wisdom, that our Conduct toward them may tend 
to forward their Acquaintance with it, and strengthen them in 
Obedience thereto, appears to me to be a Duty on all of us. 

By cherishing the Spirit of Pride and the Love of Praise in 
them, I believe they may sometimes improve faster in Learning, 
than otherwise they would ; but to take Measures to forward 

' A similar brief essay On Schools is to be found in "A Plea for the Poor" 
(usually printed under the title, "A Word of Remembrance and Caution to the 
Rich'O, Chapter XIV. 


Children in Learning, which naturally tend to divert their Minds 
from true Humility, appears to me to savour of the Wisdom of 
this World. 

If Tutors are not acquainted with Sanctification of Spirit, 
nor experienced in an humble waiting for the Leadings of Truth, 
but follow the Maxims of the Wisdom of this World, such Chil- 
dren who are under their Tuition, appear to me to be in Danger 
of imbibing Thoughts and Apprehensions, reverse to that Meek- 
ness and Lowliness of Heart, which is necessary for all the true 
Followers of Christ. 

Children at an Age fit for Schools, are in a time of Life which 
requires the patient Attention of pious People, and if we commit 
them to the Tuition of such, whose Minds we believe are not 
rightly prepared to "train them up in the Nurture and Admoni- 
tion of the Lord," we are in Danger of not acting the Part of 
faithful Parents toward them; for our Heavenly Father doth 
not require us to do Evil, that Good may come of it. And it is 
needful that we deeply examine ourselves, lest we get entangled 
in the Wisdom of this World, and, through wrong Apprehensions, 
take such Methods in Education as may prove a great Injury to 
the Minds of our Children. 

It is a lovely Sight to behold innocent Children and when they 
are sent to such Schools, where their tender Minds are in imminent 
Danger of being led astray by Tutors who do not live a self- 
denying Life, or by the Conversation of such Children who do 
not live in Innocence, it is a Case much to be lamented. 

While a pious Tutor hath the Charge of no more Children 
than he can take due Care of, and keeps his Authorit)' in the 
Truth, the good Spirit in which he leads and governs, works on 
the Minds of such who are not hardened, and his Labours not 
only tend to bring them forward in outward Learning, but to 
open their Understandings with respect to the true Christian 
Life. But where a Person hath Charge of too many, and his 
Thoughts and Time are so much employed in the outward 
Affairs of his School, that he does not so weightily attend to the 
Spirit and Conduct of each Individual, as to be enabled to admin- 
ister rightly to all in due Season ; through such Omission, he 
not only suffers as to the State of his own Mind, but the 
Minds of the Children are in Danger of Suffering also. 


To watch the Spirit of Children, to nurture them in Gospel 
Love, and labour to help them against that which would mar 
the Beauty of their Minds, is a Debt we owe them: and a faithful 
Performance of our Duty, not only tends to their lasting Benefit 
and our own Peace, but also to render their Company agreeable 
to us. 

Instruction, thus administered, reaches the pure Witness in 
the Minds of such Children who are not hardened, and begets 
Love in them toward those who thus lead them on. But where 
too great a Number are committed to a Tutor, and he, through 
much Cumber, omits a careful Attention to the Minds of Chil- 
dren, there is Danger of Disorders gradually increasing amongst 
them, till the Effects thereof appear in their Conduct, too strong 
to be easily remedied. 

A Care hath lived on my Mind, that more Time might be 
employed by Parents at Home, and by Tutors at School, in 
weightily attending to the Spirit and Inclinations of Children, 
and that we may so lead, instruct, and govern them, in this tender 
Part of Life, that nothing may be omitted in our Power, to help 
them on their Way to become the Children of our Father who is 
in Heaven. 

Meditating on the Situation of Schools in our Provinces, my 
Mind hath, at Times, been affected with Sorrow ; and under 
these Exercises it hath appeared to me, that if those who have 
large Estates, were faithful Stewards, and laid no Rent nor 
Interest, nor other Demand, higher than is consistent with univer- 
sal Love ; and those in lower Circumstances would, under a mod- 
erate Employ, shun unnecessary Expense, even to the smallest 
Article; and all unite in humbly seeking to the Lord, he would 
graciously instruct us, and strengthen us, to relieve the Youth 
from various Snares, in which many of them are entangled. 



As our Understandings are opened by the pure Light, we 
experience that through an inward approaching to God, the Mind 
is strengthened in Obedience; and that by gratifying those Desires 


which are not of his begetting, those Approaches to him are 
obstructed, and the deceivable Spirit gains Strength. 

These Truths, being as it were engraven upon our Hearts, 
and our everlasting Interest in Christ evidently concerned herein, 
we become fervently engaged, that nothing may be nourished which 
tends to feed Pride or Self-love in us. Thus, in pure Obedience, 
we are not only instructed in our Duty to God, but also in the 
Affairs which necessarily relate to this Life, and the Spirit of 
Truth which guides into all Truth, leavens the Mind with a 
pious Concern, that "whatsoever we do in Word or Deed, may 
be done in his name." Col. iii. 17. 

Hence, such Buildings, Furniture, Food and Raiment, as best 
answer our Necessities, and are the least likely to feed that selfish 
Spirit which is our Enemy, are the most acceptable to us. 

In this State the Mind is tender, and inwardly watchful, that 
the Love of Gain draw us not into any Business which may weaken 
our Love to our Heavenly Father, or bring unnecessary Trouble 
to any of his Creatures. 

Thus the Way gradually opens to cease from that Spirit 
which craves Riches and Things fetched far; which so mixeth 
with the Customs of this World, and so intrudes upon the true 
Harmony of Life, that the right Medium of Labour is very much 
departed from. 

And as the Minds of People are settled in a steady Concern, 
not to hold nor possess any Thing but what may be held consistent 
with the Wisdom from above, they consider what they possess 
as the Gift of God, and are inwardly exercised that in all Parts 
of their Conduct they may act agreeable to the Nature of the 
peaceable Government of Christ. 

A little supports such a Life; and in a State truly resigned 
to the Lord, the Eye is single to see what outward Employ he 
leads into as a Means of our Subsistence, and a lively Care is 
maintained to hold to that without launching further. 

There is a Harmony in the several Parts of this Divine Work 
in the Hearts of People ; he who leads them to cease from those 
gainful Employments, carried on in that Wisdom which is from 
beneath, delivers also from the Desire after worldly Greatness, and 
reconciles the Mind to a Life so plain, that a little doth suffice. 

Here the real Comforts of Life are not lessened. Moderate 


Exercise, in the Way of true Wisdom, is Pleasant both to Mind 
and Body. Food and Raiment sufficient, though in the greatest 
SimpHcity, are accepted with Content and Gratitude. 

The mutual Love subsisting between the faithful Followers of 
Christ, is more pure than that Friendship which is not seasoned 
with Humility, how specious soever the Appearance. 

Where People depart from pure Wisdom in one Case, it is 
often an Introduction to depart from it in many more : and thus 
a Spirit which seeks for outward Greatness, and leads into worldly 
Wisdom to attain it and support it, gets Possession of the Mind. 

In beholding the customary Departure from the true Medium 
of Labour, and that unnecessary Toil which many go through, in 
supporting outward Greatness, and procuring Delicacies : 

In beholding how the true Calmness of Life is changed into 
Hurry, and that many, by eagerly pursuing outward Treasure, 
are in great Danger of withering as to the inward State of the 

In meditating on the Works of this Spirit, and on the Desola- 
tions it makes amongst the Professors of . Christianity, I may 
thankfully acknowledge that I often feel pure Love beget Long- 
ings in my Heart for the Exaltation of the peaceable Kingdom of 
Christ, and an Engagement to Labour according to the Gift 
bestowed on me, for the promoting an humble, plain, temperate 
Way of Living : a Life where no unnecessary Cares nor Expences 
may encumber our Minds, nor lessen our Ability to do good; 
where no Desires after Riches or Greatness may lead into hard 
Dealing; where no Connections with worldly minded Men may 
abate our Love to God, nor weaken a true Zeal for Righteousness ; 
A Life, wherein we may diligently labour for Resignedness to do 
and suffer whatever our Heavenly Father may allot for us, in 
reconciling the World to himself. 

When the Prophet Isaiah had uttered his Vision, and declared 
that a Time was coming wherein "Swords should be beat into 
Ploughshares, and Spears into Pruning Hooks, and that Nation 
should not lift up Sword against Nation, nor learn War any 
more ;" he immediately directs the Minds of the People to the 
Divine Teacher, in this remarkable Language; "O House of 
Jacob, come ye and let us Walk in the Light of the Lord." 
Isaiah ii. 5. 


To wait for the Direction of this Light in all temporal as 
well as spiritual Concerns, appears necessary : for if in any Case 
we enter lightly into temporal Affairs, without feeling this Spirit 
of Truth to open our Way therein, and through the Love of this 
World proceed on, and seek for Gain by that Business or Traffic, 
which "is not of the Father, but of the World," we fail in our 
Testimony to the Purity and Peace of his Government; and get 
into that which is for Chastisement. 

This Matter hath lain heavy on my Mind. It being evident, 
that a Life less humble, less simple and plain, than that which 
Christ leads his Sheep into, does necessarily require a Support 
which pure wisdom does not provide for. Hence there is no 
Probability of our being "a peculiar People, so zealous of good 
Works as to have no Fellowship with Works of Darkness," while 
we have Wants to supply which have their Foundation in Custom, 
and do not come within the Meaning of those Expressions ; "your 
Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these Things." 
Mat. vi. 32. 

These Things which he beholds necessary for his People, he 
fails not to give them in his own Way, and Time : but as his Ways 
are above our Ways, and his Thoughts above our Thoughts, so 
imaginary Wants are different "from these Things which he 
knoweth that we have need of." 

As my Meditations have been on these Things, Compassion 
hath filled my Heart toward my Fellow Creatures, involved in 
Customs, grown up in "the Wisdom of this World, which is Fool- 
ishness with God." And O that the Youth may be so thoroughly 
experienced in an humble Walking before the Lord, that they may 
be his Children, and know him to be their Refuge, their safe 
unfailing Refuge, through the various Dangers attending this 
uncertain State of Being. 

If those whose Minds are redeemed from the Love of Wealth, 
and who are content with a plain, simple way of Living, do yet 
find that to conduct the Affairs of a Family, without giving 
Countenance to unrighteous Proceedings, or having Fellowship 
with Works of Darkness, the most diligent Care is necessary : 

If Customs, distinguishable from universal Righteousness, and 
opposite to the true Self-denying Life, are now prevalent, and 
so mixed with Trade, and with almost every Employ, that it is 


only through humble waiting on the inward Guidance of Truth 
that we may reasonably hope to walk safely, and support an uni- 
form Testimony to the peaceable Government of Christ: 

If this be the Case, how lamentably do they expose themselves 
to Temptations, who give way to the Love of Riches, conform 
to expensive Living, and reach forth for Gain to support Customs 
which our Holy Shepherd leads not into. 



This Essay, hitherto unpubHshed, is found at the back of the 
folio, MS. A. and occupies pages one to four, inclusive. The 
following note of John Woolman's which prefaces it, throws 
light upon the extremes of caution which prevented entirely the 
publication of this Essay, and delayed others until after the 
author's death. This note also gives us a new date for the Essay 
on "Considerations on Pure Wisdom" &c., as noted in the intro- 
duction to that Essay. 

"When that small piece entitled Considerations on pure wisdom &c 
[printed 1758] was laid before the overseers of the press. The Sub- 
stance of the following twelve distinct paragraphs were formed in 
one Chapter, and propos'^ by me to have been corrected and printed 
as a part of that piece, but the said Overseers, though they did not 
reject this Chapter, yet exprest some desire that the publication of it 
might at least be defered, with which I felt easie, and therefore they 
did not attempt to correct it." This comment was written by John 
Woolman in 1769. 

At the end are notes "From a Surgeon's Journal," and selec- 
tions which are all taken from Anthony Benezet's "Caution and 
Warning to Great Britain and her Colonies," &c. They are 
therefore not included here. 

As it hath pleased the Divine Being to people the Earth by 
Inhabitants descended from one man ; And as Christ commanded 
his disciples to preach the Gospel to distant Countries, the neces- 
sity of sometimes crossing the Seas is evident. 



The Inhabitants of the Earth have often appeared to me as 
one great family consisting of various parts, divided by great 
waters, but united in one common Interest, that is, in living right- 
eously according to that Light and understanding, wherewith 
Christ doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world. 

While a Wilderness is improving, by Inhabitants come from 
a plentiful thick setled Country, to Employ some of the family 
in crossing the waters, to supply the new setlers, with some such 
necessaries as they can well pay for, while they clear Fields tO' 
raise grain, appears to be consistent with the Interest of all — 


When Lands are so improved that with a Divine Blessing they 
afford food. Raiment, and all those necessaries which pertain to 
the Life of a humble follower of Christ; It behoves the Inhabit- 
ants to take heed that a Custom be not continued longer than 
the usefulness of it, and that the number of that calling who have 
been helpful in importing Necessaries be not greater than is con- 
sistent with pure wisdom. 

Customs contraiy to pure wisdom, which tends to change 
agreable employ into a Toyl, and to involve people into many 
difficulties, it appears to be the duty of the Fathers in the family, 
to wait for strength, to labour against such customs being intro- 
duced, or encouraged amongst the Inhabitants ; and that all true 
friends to the family so shake their hands from holding Bribes, 
as not to cherish any desire of gain, by fetching, or selling, those 
things which they believe tend to Alienate the minds of people 
from their truest Interest. 


Where some have got large possessions, and by an increase of 
Inhabitants have power to acquire riches, if they let them at such 
a rate that their Tennants are necessitated in procuring their rent 
to labour harder or apply themselves to business more closely, than 
is consistent with pure wisdom, whither these monies thus 
obtained, are applied to promote a superfluous Trade, or any other 
purpose in a self pleasing will, here the true harmony of the 
family appears to be in danger. 

Where two branches of the same family are each scituate on 
such a Soil, that with moderate labour, through the Divine 
Blessing, each may be supplied by their own produce with all the 
necessaries of life, and a large hazardous Ocean between them ; 
for the Inhabitants of each place to live on the produce of their 
own land, appears most likely for them to shun unnecessary 
cares and labours. 


For Brethren to Visit each other in true Love, I believe makes 
part of that happiness which our heavenly father intends for us 
in this life ; but where pure Wisdom direct not our Visits, we 
may not suppose them truly profitable ; And for man to so faith- 
fully attend to the pure light, as to be truely acquainted with the 
state of his own mind, and feel that purifying power which pre- 
pares the heart to have fellowship with Christ, and with those who 
are redeemed from the Spirit of this world, this knowledge is to 
us of infinitely greater moment than the knowledge of Affairs in 
distant parts of this great family. 


By giving way to a desire after delicacies, and things fetched 
far, many men appear to be employ" unnecessarily; many Ships 


built by much labour are lost ; many people brought to an untimely 
end ; much good produce buried in the Seas ; Many people busied 
in that which serves chiefly to please a wandering desire, who 
might better be employed in those Affairs which are of real 
service, and ease the burdens of such poor honest people, who 
to answer the demands of others Are often necessitated to exceed 
the bounds of healthful agreable exercise. 


Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the 
Children of GOD. 

Where one in the family is injured, it appears consistent with 
true Brotherhood, that such who know it, take due care respecting 
their own behavior, and conduct, lest the love of gain should 
lead them into any affairs, so connected with the proceedings 
of him who doth the injury, as to strengthen his hands therein, 
make him more at ease in a wrong way, or less likely to Attend to 
the Righteous principle in his own mind. 


To be well acquainted with the Affairs we are interested in, 
with the disposition of those with whom we have connexions, 
to have outward concerns within proper bounds, and in all things 
attend to the wisdom from above, appears most agreable to that 
pious disposition in whi